The Travel category online is an example of how the Internet has made our lives both easier and more complicated. It very clearly exemplifies “the paradox of choice.” Indeed, there are hundreds of travel sites that provide booking services and travel content of one sort or another. You’re “empowered” with information but also potentially overwhelmed by it. Given this, it would seem we don’t need any more travel sites. TravelMuse, which has just launched, makes the argument that there’s still room for more “inspiration” in travel search.
The company sees itself like a “magazine,” with content created by professional writers, combined with beautiful photography:
It sees these features, among others, as differentiators from more generic, utilitarian travel search engines. But the big attraction of the site is its “Inspiration Finder,” which marries search functionality with “discovery” in an interesting way.
Users provide their budgets and vacation criteria, things like how far they’re willing to fly, how much they want to spend per person, what season they want to go, their family composition, and their interests. The tool then matches vacation suggestions and packages to those parameters and interests and presents them in a comparison shopping-like grid format:
There will eventually also be community and user-generated content. There are also useful personalization tools, including a Firefox plug-in that helps organize travel content on the site from elsewhere on the internet. But it’s the Inspiration Finder that does something unique and interesting in combining the directional power of search with the serendipity of discovery.