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Just about every flight search engine has a hotel booking service — and that’s how they end up making a majority of their money. It looks like flight search startup Hipmunk finally got the memo, because the company announced today that it is launching a hotel search engine to go with its simplified flight search engine.
The hotels are rated by “ecstasy” — which is some secret amalgamation of price, location and star rating. Hipmunk’s flight search engine is similarly sorted by “agony” — a mix of price, travel time and some other secret sauces. The hotel search engine pins the most popular hotels on a Google map. The service also places a heat map on top that indicates how many popular restaurants and tourist locations are in the area — “vice” included.
Part of Hipmunk’s charm is its streamlined interface — the site only requires a user to enter a general area and a few dates. Like its flight search engine, the site pulls in information from flight and hotel booking engine Orbitz. Once users enter a search location and a date and find a hotel they like, they can jump to Orbitz to book the hotel.
Hipmunk has been a darling of the startup world for some time now. George Zachary, the Charles River Ventures partner who was an early investor in Twitter, said Hipmunk and his portfolio company Wanderfly were “the most innovative thing I’ve seen in travel” at the Launch Conference in San Francisco last week.
The site has raised $4.2 million in funding in a round led by Ignition Partners. The company is a Y-Combinator incubated startup co-founded by Adam Goldstein and Steve Huffman. The site launched a mobile version of its application at the Launch Conference as well.