A new travel platform called OLSET is launching its public beta to streamline the hotel booking process, with an algorithm for matching user preferences to reviews from TripAdvisor. Instead of providing a long list of potential hotels in the area, OLSET finds your three best matches based on how you prioritize location, price, ratings and other amenities.
OLSET was created specifically for the busy business traveler who doesn’t have time to scour the web for the right hotel. Co-founder Gadi Bashvitz tells me about 78 percent of travelers drop off after starting a hotel search online. OLSET speeds up the process by making recommendations based on your specific profile. Unlike other hotel booking sites, OLSET really digs into what users are looking for, and provides a percentage match with a couple different options.
To use OLSET, users first create a profile and outline what they are looking for in a hotel: minimum star rating, minimum user rating, price and max distance from their meeting location. Users can also list a preferred hotel chain. And that’s just the beginning.
Then come the amenities, such as a fitness center, Wi-Fi, continental breakfast and more. Each of these can be ranked from unimportant to mandatory. Throw in travel options, bed and room size, a couple more options and you’ve got a complete OLSET profile. You can also import your travel profile from sites like Expedia or Orbitz in order to consider past hotels you’ve stayed in.
You can then either book from the site by giving a location and date, or through meeting invites on a calendar. OLSET works with Outlook, Google Calendar, iPhone, iPad and Android. The service is also partnering with companies GetGoing and Any.do, so you can book a hotel straight from other apps. After that, the platform gives three of the best vetted options and takes you through exactly why they match your preferences.
According to Bashvitz, OLSET has processed about 1 million TripAdvisor reviews across 120,000 hotels, with has turned out about 4 million sentiments. The platform then takes these sentiments into account when matching users with potential hotels. For example, if a traveler marks “pool” as a mandatory feature, OLSET will include not only whether the hotel has a pool, but also whether the sentiments were good or bad overall, which will result in a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
The service sends a review to fill out once its user arrives at the hotel, and another after the trip ends. Bashvitz says he wants to use this to build up OLSET’s own data instead of relying only on outside reviews.
Because OLSET is going after the business traveler market, that pits it against two categories of competition: companies like Concur that manage business trip bookings, and popular travel sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline. Bashvitz says the challenge is to change the habits of people who traditionally look for their own hotels and don’t trust an application to do it for them. To mitigate this problem, OLSET lays out exactly what its algorithm looks for when matching travelers with hotels (shown below).