New: Hotel speedups, heatmap improvements, and better location searching

It was only a few months ago that we added our awesome hotel searching feature. Today we’ve made it even better.

First: speed! When you run a hotel search, it’s now faster—and we show you a progress bar with a dancing Hipmunk so you can see how much waiting is left. It’s also quicker to move the map around.

You previously had to wait for all the hotels to load; now you get instant feedback. The hotels we’ve found show up behind the progress bar, and the map itself updates as we load results. (Grayed-out dots represent hotels we’re currently checking for availability.)

Once your results have loaded, things work pretty much the same as they used to—with two important improvements. First, we’ve moved the heatmap selector up so it no longer blocks the map. Now when you hover over each heatmap button, you get a description of what it means.

Second, we’ve made it easier to search for hotels near where you need to be. When you click to sort by Distance, we give you an address box where you can type in your specific destination.

When you update the address, we automatically re-sort the hotels to show you the nearest ones first. And we also show you a flag on the map so you can see where your destination is in relation to nearby hotels.

Lastly, if you don’t know a specific street address but do know the general area, you can drag the flag around yourself. We’ll not only tell you the address of where you dropped the flag, but we’ll also re-sort the hotels automatically to show you the nearest ones first.

Now you tell us: what else would make your hotel searching less agonizing?

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