Yahoo! adds personalized travel deals

More and more travel sites are adding special features designed to increase personalization and interactivity. One site that is constantly expanding and refining its repertoire of travel tools, Yahoo! Travel, recently debuted some new features, including personalized trip recommendations and deals for users. I dabbled with these new features, and found them useful in some ways, unhelpful in others.

In order to get personalized recommendations and deals, you need to use the site so it can start tracking your interests. It helps if you input the trips you're planning into your personal "Trip Planner" profile where you can enter your destination and travel dates. I put in two trips I'm planning this summer, one to New Orleans and another to Rio de Janeiro. Immediately after giving Yahoo! my basic travel plans, my travel homepage started displaying pretty pictures of New Orleans and Brazil along with little tabs linking to related travel deals, user tips , travel guides, and weather.

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Under a photo of New Orleans it showed me the day's lowest airfare price available for my travel route and dates (as determined by Yahoo! FareChase). By clicking on the price I was brought to a detailed list of available fares with links to providers. This seemed like an easy way to search for low air prices—it even brought up fares on JetBlue, which a lot of other airfare search engines don't include. Indeed, after searching a number of other engines, it appeared that Yahoo! had found the lowest price available at the time.

For New Orleans it also gave me a list of hotel deals, but those didn't seem specific to my dates and I couldn't search by location in the city, which is something I find vital when making accommodations arrangements.

As for Brazil, Yahoo! did not have any airfare deal recommendations. I checked a few other international destinations and they didn't have any air deal recommendations listed either. There were hotel deal recommendations, but again, they weren't specific to my dates and I couldn't look for deals by neighborhood.

Going forward I'll probably just ignore the Brazil recommendations and hotel recommendations, but I will check back periodically to see what fares Yahoo! finds for my New Orleans trip. I'd imagine other users will also find the airfare deal recommendations helpful for planning their domestic trips.

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