It used to be that when you wanted to stay at a hotel in a city, you went to a few sets of trusted brands that signaled what you were looking for. If what you needed was a clean, basic, business hotel, perhaps Holiday Inn would reliably provide you with that. If you wanted luxury, you’d seek out the Four Seasons in the same city.
In the connected world, the search model changed. For hotels, you go to Booking.com, which brings you a vast set options. You try filtering, but the taxonomy is difficult and filters fall short. If you search for a 5-star hotel room in NYC for February 14, you get 44 available rooms, ranging from $194 to $800. Certainly those are not apples to apples. The experience on Amazon, unless you know exactly what you are looking for, is the same. Our search problem is a bigger one in the age of abundance.
That’s where the trusted brands and curators come back into the picture. Just like twenty years ago, I find myself looking at familiar chains on Booking.com, and the recommendations on the Michelin guides, for my choices.
I suspect AI will come to the rescue here. But I have yet to see strong working examples.