I’ve beaten the Google drum quite a bit, but Google is by no means the end all be all of search. There are plenty of searches happening on other search engines (did you know the current number 2 is YouTube – owned by Google of course), searches via other mediums like driving directions, search done in-app on mobile devices and searches done for things other than web pages.

Travel search is an area that Google has entered for things such as flight and hotel search, but there are several sites that are providing some very interesting variations travel search results page. I first came upon Hipmunk almost 3 year ago at PhoCusWright, and the site has really gained some traction since then. Their main differentiator is that they sort their flight results initially by what they call, “Agony”, which is “…a combination of price, duration and number of stops.” Definitely a nice way to sort flights for those of us who are not fans of multiple airport connection hops:

Hipmunk search result screen

That’s some helpful stuff, but what I have had a lot of fun checking in on is the travel search dataset that flight search site Hopper is sharing via their Hopper Research. I first found this when they posted about the cheapest way to fly to all 30 major league ballparks – can you believe that it was just under $2,400?! That’s criss-crossing the country, as they worked off of MLB schedules and the 14,154 mile cheap trip checked in at $2,368 while the 9,004 mile trip wound up at $2,970. Perhaps baseball isn’t your cup of tea, then try their tool for finding the best deal to follow your favorite NFL team on the road. If you are more into outdoor adventure, then take a look at their Adventure Planner which lets you select from hiking, biking, camping, diving, kayaking and surfing and then see several top locations for your favorite activity overlaid with the best airfares to nearby airports. Finally, my favorite Hopper tool is the ability to see reports on flights from a selected airport, or flights between certain city pairs. This is something like what Farechase used to offer before Bing removed those results from their Bing Travel, but they are better in that they have more detail and depth are worth exploring to see what trends are going on in the world of travel. See below for a chart of the cheapest flights from Salt Lake City and digging deeper into the report shows routes with the highest demand and capacity – good things to know and keep on top of for any destination marketer – thanks Hopper!

Hopper SLC report