Website review: Boo.com


26 May 2007

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When Boo.com went down in flames in 2000 as the dotcom boom was about to go supernova, all that was left in recent years was a sad little message saying that they would return in 2006.

Well they didn’t. Instead, Irish-owned travel company Web Reservations International (WRI) bought the domain name and gave us all Travel 2.0.

Lest you feel blinded by the science of it all, Travel 2.0 is basically a fancy way of saying a travel review, reservation site and social network all in one.

It has a slick interface driven by Ajax, which means that there’s no annoying clicking through to page after page or opening up a million different windows.

For example, when picking available dates for a hotel you’re looking at you don’t have to click down on the days menu and wait for it to reload; you can click and drag your mouse across preferred dates and it instantly tells you if they’re available.

This site might look very polished but it is quite upfront, with no messing around, much like the owner of Boo.com Ray Nolan, founder of HostelWorld.com.

Like Nolan said himself, Boo.com has every trick that’s on the web but you don’t get the sense that it’s overloaded with graphics, widgets and doodads.

Because it is new there aren’t many contributors or reviews yet. I looked up Dublin and found lots of information on pubs, dining, sights, etc but when I checked out Moscow there was practically nothing.

In the spirit of “collective wisdom”, as espoused by Boo.com, I signed up and added my very own review. The layout is extremely attractive and it’s got Google maps embedded. Thankfully all the ads are relevant and don’t feel intrusive in the least.

In order to navigate your way around the site there is just one tool, a search bar where you type in your desired destination, click search and off you go. It makes a difference to sites where I find myself constantly clicking on the back button in the browser or searching for the icon for the homepage.

You can keep track of what your fellow users are searching for most with the cloud tag on the front page. The most searched-for destinations are displayed in bigger text.

Although Boo.com claims to have over one million reviews of 2,187 locations, most of these have been taken from other WRI sites. Having said that, the site is fairly new so I’m sure it will get better as time goes on.

Personally, I predict big things for Boo.com and will stopping off before planning my next holiday.

By Marie Boran