MapQuest has beefed up its business locator tool. A scrolling vertical bar now appears on the upper right of every map allowing users to populate any map quickly and simply with different categories of businesses or, in the case of advertisers, with specific brand locations.
Here’s what happens when you click the logo for Holiday Inn on a New York map:
Note how Holiday Inn also has the display ad on the right side of the page (see below). That’s very deliberate and will be a feature of advertising on the business locator:
Users can also add multiple layers of business types and locations by clicking the various icons in the locator bar. I’ve added coffee houses in this case. MapQuest will be adding more advertisers by category but says it will limit the number of advertisers in a given category to avoid cluttering the locator bar and user experience.
MapQuest is doing a nice job with these features, but most of this was tested or implemented by Yahoo previously (although Yahoo no longer allows this sort of one-click display of category locations on the map). However what MapQuest calls “corridor search” is unique.
That involves locating businesses or types of businesses along a route. Here’s a hypothetical cross-country trip where I’m locating hotels:
In addition to the simplicity and appeal of the locator bar, this “corridor search” is really useful. And one could imagine how brands would love this too to help reinforce loyalty. There are lots of interesting things that could be done with advertising here (e.g., coupons).
This is yet another recent upgrade from MapQuest, which continues to roll out new features or enhancements on what seems like a monthly basis now.