New: Narrow down hotels by geography or chain

Last week we made your hotel search faster. This week we’ve made it even easier to narrow down hotels to just the ones you want.

Firstly, you’ll see a button at the top of hotel search results like this:

Click that button, and you’ll see a rectangle appear right in the map:

Anything inside the gray rectangle appears in the list on the left; anything outside the rectangle is hidden from the list. You can drag the rectangle around, or resize it by dragging its corners.

Whether you use the rectangle or not, you’ll sometimes be zoomed in so much on the map that you’re only seeing a fraction of the hotels in or near a city. Now we’ve made it even easier to see what you’re missing: at the bottom of the list of hotels there’s a note about how many hotels aren’t being shown:

Click that note to zoom the map out and see all the hotels we’ve found.

Finally, if you’re partial to a particular hotel chain (or chains), we’ve made it easy to show only the ones you want. Just select them from the Chains drop-down:

Which are your favorite chains?

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?

New: See first and business class legs at a glance

If you’re a high-roller, you know there can be a big difference between first and business class. But sometimes, when you search for either first or business on Hipmunk, we also show you results for the other one so you can compare.

To make sure there’s no confusion, we’ve added indicators to each leg of your flight if you’ll be sitting in a “premium cabin.” A silver triangle in the upper-right means business class, while a gold triangle means first class. (No triangle means coach.)

What do you think? Do you ever splurge for business or first class if you’re spending your own money?

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