One task that has always frustrated and even annoyed me at times is trying to work out the best hotels to stay in when you’re planning to visit somewhere new. The inline maps the hotel booking websites display leave a lot to be desired. I usually end up copying and pasting the hotel’s address into Google Earth, trying to check whether a potential hotel is in the right area or not.
Google Earth does of its own accord show the locations of some hotels with a symbol in the shape of a bed, but these only display at a particular zoom level and the hotel details are often sketchy.
Wouldn’t it be useful, I thought to myself, if you could load a file into Google Earth that pinpoints all hotels in a particular country or region? So you can easily see at a glance where the hotels are, while being free to pan around and zoom as you wish?
So I set myself a challenge this afternoon. I studied the formatting requirements for the KML files that Google uses, tracked down a decent sized hotel database, and put my somewhat rusty programming skills to work… and voila! Took a couple hours of a lazy and hot weekend afternoon, but below is the result: a KML file with 1000+ hotels in Thailand. Might come in handy when planning our next trip :-)
I originally attached the hotel name to the map pins, but with so many hotels displaying, it caused excessive clutter and wasn’t especially useful, so I replaced the name with just digits – the digits being the average nightly room rate. Something much more useful! On this particular map rates are in Thai Baht.
When a pin is clicked on, a window should open showing the hotel name, star rating and a photo of the hotel. If you click on this it will take to to the hotel detail and booking page at MyHotelGuru.
I’ve only put a link to the Thailand file below, but now that the program is written, it’s quite a simple task to generate a KML file for another country – just takes a few minutes. Leave a comment if you have any particular requests.
Happy holiday planning!
Naturally you will need to have Google Earth installed on you computer to use the file. Your browser should ask if you want to open the file with Google Earth when you click on it. If instead you see a page full of gobbledygook, just Right Click on the link above and save it to your computer, then open it by double clicking the saved file.