TvTrip is offering a multimedia hotel guide with videos professionnally produced helping users choose better the hotels and even the rooms they will be staying at (read our initial review here). This startup hearquartered in Belgium with offices in Paris London and Singapour launched in June and is backed by 2 european VCs, Partech and Balderton. They are now out of beta (check out the absent mention by the logo) and will be launching tomorrow a brand new version of their hotel search engine although the new site can already be accessed.
The new design is rather nice but the key point of attraction is an advanced video player which enables you to access rich information regarding the hotel without having to leave the player itself including in full screen mode. The execution is really good and it is probably best to give it a try to understand. For example you can launch other videos related to the hotel directly from the player, you can read the hotel basic description details and reviews from other users and even launch a comparison check for the best rate.
I regret a few elements that could be easily improved: the videos cannot be embedded (useful for travel blogs), the sound is set by default to zero and the control is not available in the right position. I think they also urgently need to take that cheap stock music off their videos and replace it with either quality music (hint: local hits would be interesting) or even a sexy voice to accompany the images. After a short chat with the team i understand they will be working on it. The site itself is much richer and has a lot of options for search, filtering and navigation. I like the VideoWall result page (see here in London). They also have a map mashup from where you can run directly the videos.The site has already some good traction with a 100k unique visitors a month accross 5 languages. 600 hotels are covered accross 48 cities and this will soon raise up to 1000. Another 2200 hotels can be added at any time according to users’ votes. Asia will soon be covered too. Another startup based in Paris providing the same service by the name of Trivop, recently launched a new version of their site.Video guides for hotels make total sense from a consumer point of view. The question i still have in mind is whether this is a value proposition strong enough to create a destination site or whether this is a good addition to existing booking sites? Too soon to say