Rome2rio is described by many of our users as a trip planner – an essential tool for early, high-level crafting of the itinerary for your trip. When we thinking about trip planning, we think of three key elements:
- Where to go and how do I get there? (transport)
- What can and see and do once I’m there? (sights and activities)
- Where am I going to stay? (accommodation)
Our focus at Rome2rio is providing a comprehensive solution to (1). We’ve continued to develop and improve our hotel search experience, which helps when planning (3). However, we felt we really needed to add sights and activities (2) to Rome2rio in order to offer a complete trip planning experience to our users.
We’re excited to launch our new sights & activities feature today. You’ll now see a new button labeled Things to do? below search results on the left. Click it to view attractions in and around your search destination.
Attractions and colour coded with a range of categories including amusement parks, museums, parks, lighthouses, churches, dams, aquariums, sculptures, theaters, memorials and waterfalls.
Hover over an attraction to view the details including a photo, description, and directions to the attraction from your current search destination.
Developing the attractions feature has been challenging, especially given the absence of an existing global, curated, comprehensive and accurate source of sights and activities. Viator’s repository is high quality, however their focus is solely on paid tours and activities, and not the free attractions which we also require. TripAdvisor’s Things to do pages are perhaps the most comprehensive offering on the web, however the content is largely user generated we found occasional inaccuracies in the location data. Lonely Planet also owns an excellent attractions repository based on their book content, but they are not focused on licensing the data to third parties, so that wasn’t an option.
Ultimately we chose to develop our own repository based on publicly available Wikipedia and Flickr data. We are utilizing our ever-diligent content team to review and refine the repository, and have developed in-house tools for the required tasks.
No doubt the feature will improve with time. We plan to integrate Viator’s bookable tours and activities in the near future, and we may explore adding Tripadvisor review scores. User feedback will be critical for identifying quality issues and missing attractions. In the meantime, this new addition to Rome2rio certainly enhances the overall value of the site, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.