Usually when people decide it’s time for a vacation, they don’t start from absolute scratch. They have ideas as to what types of experiences they’d like to have, even if they have no clue as to where and how they’ll have them.
Nile Guide is a travel planning website launching today with an appreciation for that fact. It has aggregated travel data from over 10 sources, including Citysearch, OpenTable, and Expedia, and added its own reports and reviews from local experts for 80 international destinations. It’s then made all of the information searchable from within a tool that takes into consideration both objective and subjective factors related to your preconceived preferences.
There are four main search types on Nile Guide: food, lodging, nightlife, and “see & do”. When you search from within any one of them, you can filter the results in real-time using a variety of criteria.
For example, you can choose to view only restaurants in a given city/region that are lively, quiet, off beat, romantic, kid friendly, or business oriented. Results can be further tailored by neighborhood, cuisine, and costliness. Finally, you can choose to see results that match keywords such as “sushi”, and you can order results by their distance from notable landmarks such as the airport.
The same type of capabilities are possible for the other three search types. Want to spend sometime outdoors while visiting Las Vegas? Tell Nile Guide how strenuous you like your activity, and what types of activities in particular you enjoy, and it will retrieve the appropriate results for you. Its “secret sauce” consists of its ability to break down data already available elsewhere into subjective measurements like strenuousness and liveliness.
Nile Guide is not just about advanced search; it wants to be a one stop travel planning service. As such, you can use it to view trip itineraries submitted by others, construct your own itineraries by adding and scheduling items found on the site, and book rooms and activities straight from the service.
One particularly notable feature is the ability to download a print-ready PDF of your itinerary for free (although cluttered with advertisements like a magazine). It would be nice to see these printed materials offered as an on-demand, premium service so you could mail order them right to your door. Update: CEO Josh Steinitz tells me they had actually decided to provide the printed guidebooks sans advertisements and will provide this type of shipping service in the future.
Overall, Nile Guide is a welcome addition to the online travel scene with search capabilities that greatly surpass TripAdvisor’s. See Zicasso for another attempt to improve the online trip planning process, and InsideTrip for an airline ticket site with the same inclinations.