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London, 9th September, 2008 – In a world first, Hotels.com, the world’s most-visited online accommodation website*, is launching a brand new search tool designed to match travellers with hotel recommendations using a simple series of pictures.

Developed with technology company Imagini, the Hotels.com Visualiser assesses each user's responses to a series of questions, with only visual prompts for answers. These responses create a personal profile or VisualDNA™ for the traveller which is then used to make hotel recommendations that match their needs.

Travellers choose from a series of photos to describe what kind of style and experience they are looking for. These steps include activities they hope to enjoy plus the style of hotel and restaurants that best suit their tastes.

The Hotels.com Visualiser then cross-references the Hotels.com database according to the activity, design and food choices made, and selects hotels to match those choices. Users have the option to refine the recommended hotels to a particular destination or they can choose the "surprise me" option that lists hotels from multiple destinations around the world.

With one simple click, travellers can then book a stay at any of the recommended hotels using the normal Hotels.com booking process.

Taking less than a minute to complete, the Hotels.com Visualiser learns about the needs of the traveller (over 30 billion combinations are possible) and immediately returns a refined set of the most appropriate hotels to suit their character and travel preferences. Not only does the product dramatically reduce the time normally spent choosing the right hotel, it also enables people travelling together to simultaneously view the possible choices and vote on their preferences.

Additional features of the Hotels.com Visualiser include:

• A ‘surprise me’ function that provides inspiration by matching requirements to destinations around the world, when users don’t have a specific location in mind.

• A ‘share feature’ that enables travellers to save their searches, send them on to friends or family, and poll their favourite choices. For group travel, this completely removes the need to spend additional time copying and pasting links into an email to collate opinions.

• An easy-to-use slider bar to refine searches even further – users can choose to narrow the selection of hotels returned towards the no frills or luxury end, or to make the selection more modern or traditional.

Nigel Pocklington, Managing Director of Hotels.com, says: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve our customer experience and help our users to choose a hotel that perfectly matches their requirements. This is the first time that travellers have been able to make their hotel selection based solely on their visual responses. The speed and functionality of the Visualiser coupled with the vast array of hotel accommodation on Hotels.com means that we are able to make the user experience faster and more efficient than ever before.”

Imagini Founder and CEO, Alex Willcock, says: “We’re thrilled that Hotels.com is using our VisualDNA technology to further develop its search experience. Together we’ve created a really great new way to find the perfect hotel.”
The service is accessible from the http://www.hotels.co.uk homepage.

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About Hotels.com

*Hotels.com is the world’s most visited hotels bookings site and the global hotels specialist, according to comScore Media Metrix (Jan-Dec 2007).

Operating in all major markets with dedicated staff, www.hotels.com offers more than 80,000 quality hotels worldwide.
www.hotels.com also has one of the largest independent hotel contracting teams in the industry plus user reviews providing first hand feedback on the properties. Travellers can book online or by contacting one of the multi-lingual call centres on 0871 200 0171.For further information visit www.hotels.com or call 0871 200 0171.

About Imagini™

Imagini, the company behind VisualDNA™, has profiled over 8 million people since it launched its technology in early 2007. Imagini’s technology builds VisualDNA by collecting the feelings and motivations of consumers using image-based quizzes that identify and map preferences across a series of behavioural axes. This visual approach differs from traditional text-based tools since it taps into pure emotional reflex, offering businesses an opportunity to understand and engage with their customers in a much more sophisticated way.

Imagini’s technology has been used in collaboration with a number of commercial partners including PepsiCo, MyDeco, MSN and Nectar.

In 2008, Imagini launched Youniverse.com, a new social networking portal which was rated by BBC Click online as one of the best sites on the Internet.

For more information please visit www.youniverse.com

Press contacts:

For more information, please email press@hotels.co.uk or contact Cordy Griffiths on 020 7019 2268 and Amy Freeman or James Gordon-Macintosh on 020 7492 0979.

OR

Vikki Chowney
Six Degrees
Tel: 01628 480280
Email: Vikki.chowney@sixdegreespr.com
Skype: vikki.chowney

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