Motel 6 (a part of Accor Hotels) just pushed their new hotel finder application to the web and it features Microsoft Virtual Earth as its mapping platform. The site operates as you would expect allowing users to enter a city – a little AJAX magic (auto-complete) kicks in to help you finish your city name as a suggestion. If a city is selected from their list the state will auto-complete. Entering in dates is optional, but helpful for booking. Then the results are populated with a Virtual Earth map and Motel 6 logos for pushpins. In addition to the custom logo, notice the custom logo for multiple hotels on the map – no, those aren’t stacked. They used the native method for avoiding pushpin collision (VEClusterSpecification.GetClusterShape Method) which swaps out the single location pushpin with a pushpin to represent multiple locations.
Each location comes with contact information (address, phone) and a link for directions to and from the respective hotel – native to Virtual Earth. Motel 6 also leveraged the point of interest data source (10’s of millions listings) which comes with the platform. Now, you may be wondering, why you don’t see the “Bird’s Eye” indicator on their custom navigation bar. Well, that’s because you have to zoom in. Once you get down to around street level the Bird’s Eye indicator (labeled “Bird” on Motel 6’s implementation) turns on allowing users to get a high resolution oblique view of the motel, the surrounding area (included in platform) and a front side image of the hotel.
Motel 6 just provided me with a new Virtual Earth showcase site in hospitality. Thanks.