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New engine searches based on like-minded people.
Friday, 3rd July 2009
Source : Gekko
The first online service that uses proprietary technology to find hotels and restaurants suited to your tastes based on your unique profile and the preferences of like-minded people.

Unlike most travel, review or lifestyle sites, Gekko.com gives people an easy way to find an ideal place without searching through the hundreds of thousands of hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs available online.

Gekko's smart matching technology matches you to a much smaller selection of 20 highly targeted and relevant spots – hotels and restaurants for now – that you are most likely to like and shows recommendations from other Gekko community members who have similar profiles and tastes.

"People don't have time to spend hours online looking for a restaurant or hotel, and then waste their money making the wrong choice" said Dino Van Es, Gekko founder. "Most websites provide an overwhelming amount of information, but in an anonymous, impersonal way. Gekko is taking a different approach by applying the idea of smart matching and personalized recommendations to travel, in the same way that Netflix did for movies and Last.fm did for music."

Gekko has been developing its technology and service over the last year. After doing qualitative and quantitative market research by surveying 7,500 people across Europe and the US, Gekko worked with leading marketing intelligence firm MIcompany to develop the unique matching algorithm behind the Gekko Profiler.

The research showed that people were taking more than 40 criteria into consideration when choosing a hotel or a restaurant. The algorithm helped reduce this list to nine determinant choices with different relative weight, making it possible for people to not only easily profile themselves, but also get the right recommendations instantly from what will become the largest and richest database of hotels and restaurants around the world.

Gekko combines this powerful underlying technology with the human-touch of peer-to-peer matching already proven in the offline world to ensure that every individual can find spots perfectly matched to their own individual tastes. Starting today in Beta, Gekko can already make recommendations from its quickly expanding database of more than 55,000 hotels, with 10,000 bookable restaurants being added in the next month. In difficult economic conditions, people clearly want to make sure they choose well when planning their leisure time. Gekko provides the tools to help them find a restaurant or hotel that they will be sure to love.

"The combination of the ‘Gekko Profiler' and smart personality matching with others in our community means that Gekko can offer members highly targeted and relevant results, rather than the typical list of 200 or more options that can take hours to evaluate," said George Henderson, Gekko's Chief Operating Officer. "Gekko puts the user firmly in control so they have all the information they need to make the best choices and help guarantee the best experiences whatever they choose. We look forward to receiving feedback from our community members and by acting on this feedback we will ensure that Gekko is as useful and enjoyable as possible."

Gekko was founded in February 2008 by Dino Van Es, a successful entrepreneur who also started Zecco, a popular online share trading community in the U.S. The company is backed by a group of individual investors and is actively recruiting for positions at its recently established London headquarters.
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