Latest News  – The Look and Feel of Next  – The Look and Feel of Next

In news from Norwegian travel startup, the developers announced today the release of their Version 2.3. Stay, as many readers may remember, was perhaps 2010’s most celebrated online travel site development. With this version of Stay users can effectively add “anything” to their personalized travel guides.

Selected as one of the top 5 websites of 2010 by Time Magazine, Stay dot com allows users to not only book hotels and services, but to; build, share, archive, and even download to PDF customized travel guides. Beside the award winning user interface and site aesthetics, Stay continually adds cities and places to an already expansive travel platform.

Add What You Want – Add Anything
This version of Stay offers users the opportunity to add whatever they so desire both to their personalized travel guide, as well as to the overall Stay community. Using the Google Places API, Stay developers have now enabled “Add Anything” – or the ability to include the smallest detail of their travels. As illustrated in the screenshots, users just search for, or pinpoint on a map nearly any imaginable place or attraction. Then users simply annotate and add their desired place, and even suggest these to be included in the overall platform.

As you can see in the image below, the user simply searches for their Starbucks coffee fix in Barcelona, and immediately several appear in the city center via the map view, as well as in Google Places search view. The user then annotates the place, in this case Starbucks and clicks “add to guide.”

Everywhere within the platform, there are ways in which to share via Facebook, Twitter, or others – as well as getting suggestions through a number of channels. According to the developers, the upcoming mobile integration will take this flexibility even farther. In the screen below, Starbucks and a nice bar on the beach have been added to the user’s guide.

And as one would expect, previewing these guides in a variety of ways before printing them is also possible. The developers also tell us that a mobile version of this useable PDF is also upcoming, and Stay users will be allowed even further utility in adding places and using their guides for travel. The screen below shows an “item” view of Starbucks and the bar with other venues – this is just part of the total guide obviously.

The Look of and Feel of Next
Along with this adept addition of Google Places utility, Stay dot com has thrown in a nice Facebook Connect aspect for this version, along with hundreds of hotels, attractions, bars, restaurants, and other things to do.  It seems clear that the developers from Norway are heavy into “completeness” and incremental improvement on an already powerful tool. It is interesting to note too, Stay points out in their release their decision to create a rather vast amount of “original content,” versus what is know as “scraping” content from other sites.

Not three weeks ago Google’s Matt Cutts announced the launch of their so-called SPAM Algorithm, designed to basically penalize those who SPAM the search engines with duplicate content. The implications are obvious.
For Stay dot com, or any online travel company – the end user always determines value. Google, regardless of what is said and done, has adhered to this idea all along. For Stay dot com, this is a huge bonus where competitive edge is concerned. It remains to be seen what other value the Norwegian company can add, and how the rest of the OTA’s counter.

While this release for Time’s top travel entity is not Earth shaking, adding anything is the precursor to doing so via smart devices. Stay may just have the look and feel of “next” – time will tell.

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TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific editorial team has an experience of over 35 years in B2B travel journalism as well as in tourism & hospitality marketing and communications.