Borrowing in parts from the new swathe of search sites such as PinterestÂ (generally) and Trippy, Wanderfly et al in travel, Hooroo allows users to search for destinations, accommodation and things to do, using large images in what it hopes is more about inspiring travellers ahead of visiting the country.
The division is wholly owned by Qantas, but any connection between the mothership and the spin-off site at this stage are minimal, with the airline site continuing with its existing holiday and hotel pages.
Back on Hooroo, search and booking tools come in the form of sliders and reasonably rare way of viewing prices for individual room nights across any given period via a grid view.
TripAdvisorÂ reviews, images of properties and maps are also included. Booking is surprisingly easy, with a single click from the hotel pages.
The social element comes by way of a Facebook Connect plug-in which allows users to share results on the network but also click icons to say if they have been to a location or used a hotel or service before.
Over time this will work in the same way as the TripAdvisor Trip Friends tool so users can see if their friends have already visited.
TourismAustralia, the country’s inbound tourism service, is inevitably over the moon with the development, endorsing it today in glowing terms.
MD Andrew McEvoy says:
“We know that compelling destination content and competitive deals can play a big part in stimulating peopleâ€™s desire to explore and travel.
“The creation of the new Hooroo social travel site seems to embrace this insight, together with a comprehensive accommodation booking engine, which weâ€™re hoping will inspire more Australians to reconsider their own backyard and take the next step by booking a domestic holiday or getaway.”
This isn’t the first time an airline has attempted a social media-led spin-off, with in Europe alone the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic attempting, closing and quietly forgetting (for a while) their respective MetroTwin and VTravelled brands.
Where Hooroo is different (and might work) is that the end goal for users is still about buying product, rather than just sharing content and tips.