When you travel in a new country or city, you want to be as close to the action as possible. This gets a bit tricky when you’re a stranger to the place, and you have to do extensive research to understand where the best shopping area, hottest nightlife spots, and best food places are before you even start researching accommodation.
To solve this problem, travel search engine KAYAK has released a brand new feature, a heat map that shows you the “hottest” spots in a city on a Google Maps view. Powered by GeoPopularity service AVUXI, the heat map will help you choose the best locations to visit — and in extension, stay — instantly. It even allows you to toggle through sightseeing, shopping, eating, and nightlife spots, to adapt to the type of traveller that you are.
According to KAYAK, it visualises data collated from 54 sources, processing 30 million events per day. Those sources are reviewed every month, to make sure that the data is up to date. To access the new heat map, all you have to do is go to the Hotels page on KAYAK, choose the country you want to visit, and click on map view.
Here are some other countries we tested it on.
Cape TownThe map is also filled with orange dots, depicting all the locations accessible on the KAYAK platform, which you can then hover over to check prices, ratings, and even book directly from sources like Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, amongst many others.
The heat map fits right in with KAYAK’s other tools, all of which are dedicated to do your travel planning for you so you don’t have to. According to Debby Soo, Vice President of APAC, KAYAK: “The heat map presents travellers with a visual overview of the most popular travel hotspots near the hotel they are looking to book, enabling them to bypass the often tedious and time-consuming process of researching for the right hotel at the best location.”
Visual tools like KAYAK’s heat map may be the future to travel research. The tedious process of sifting through lists and lists of options may have been the prime of online travel planning for some time, but it is now making way for a quicker, split-second decisions. The map view for accommodations is now a staple for most travel websites, but the heat map adds yet another layer of intricacy, putting context to a country or a city you have yet to explore. Batches of information displayed in a way that is relevant to travellers, whether for spontaneous trips, short weekend getaways, or even long trips for lazy planners.
We’re surprised that travel planning sites hadn’t thought of this sooner.