Care of a tweet from Kristi Barrow I came across a hotel sort order and search display experiment by Expedia in Australia (expedia.com.au). Below is a screenshot of the new display trial.
As you can see it is a grid approach rather than the typical list and details approach. I am convinced this is only a test as I was only able to get these results in one of four searches I tried. Likely they are doing multi-variant (or A/B) testing here.
You may be wondering why Expedia would trial a new (and arguably less user friendly) display on their Australian site. The reason is because of the market power of Wotif - the largest seller of online hotels in Australia.
In case you have not looked at the Wotif site, they have a very different look and feel to a typical online hotel retailer. Instead of a list of hotels with a lead in room rate, they have a grid that shows all the hotels on the left side, dates at the top and then availability and price in the middle. In other words a dramatic increase in the amount of information shown to a consumer. The sacrifice being depth of hotel information, sort order management and date accuracy (ie a specific date range for a search). It is now standard in Australia but very different to other markets.
By standard I mean it has influenced other players. Local competitors such as needitnow (AOT group) checkin and quickbeds (Fight Centre) have followed suit with this layout. Clearly Expedia has also caught the Wotif bug and is interested in trialling this layout in Australia.
Thanks to Kristi for sending the story around.