SideStep Slips Into Attractions

    April 27, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

The travel metasearch website expanded its categories to include local attractions, activities, and ticket search so visitors can book those along with other travel arrangements.

SideStep Slips Into Attractions
A Search Engine For The Tourist In You

SideStep pushed into vertical travel search with its latest feature release. The Activities tab on the website gives visitors the opportunity to look for attractions and the admission tickets they will need to enjoy their trip.

The company also described its SmartSort filtering capabilities for those searches. Visitors can select filtering based on activity type, price, duration, day and location.

“No other travel search site aggregates activities ranging from Las Vegas shows to professional sporting events,” Anthony Rodio, SideStep’s Vice President of Product Management, said in a statement.

Under SideStep’s Activities search, listed as being in beta, travelers can select a city name. SideStep suggests cities as one types a name, so it may be easily selected before needing to be typed out completely.

Travelers then select their start and end dates, and can initially filter on activities or see all options. In a test, we looked at the week leading into Father’s Day in June for Orlando, FL. SideStep draws its activities information from, where people can book tickets after selecting them in the search.

SideStep returns results that resemble the displays created by searches in Kayak or Yahoo! Farechase, with filtering options on the left side of the page.

Those options permit the visitor to adjust the price range through use of a slider control, and select check boxes for options like Category, Duration, City (when neighboring city options occur in the search), and individual Dates.

Results initially sort by SideStep Picks, and that sort can be changed through a drop-down box to Name, Duration, or Price. That change triggers a nice Ajax resorting of the results without reloading the page in full.

While eight dollars per person will snag the I-Ride Trolley Unlimited Ride Pass, which would be most useful to vacationers staying on International Drive, more adventurous and free-spending types can select the Sunrise Balloon Tour ($187 for adults, $96 for kids).

Travelers can also book tickets for big name attractions like Universal Studios, or an excursion to Busch Gardens and its wild rollercoasters.

SideStep’s Activities search may offer a hint into the travel vertical search interests of another search engine. Members of Google’s travel team have recently been spotted at conferences like TravelCom, which took place last week in New York.

The trick would be to combine all of the various vertical searches like attractions, airfare, and hotels into a single booking package like Expedia can currently do. Maybe that will be Google’s foray into travel beyond selling advertising for it.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.