Back in September, Area 120 launched Touring Bird as a web app to help travelers find and customize tickets and tours. Originally featuring 20 cities, the Google service now provides curated activities for 200 destinations around the world.
When the initial 20 cities launched in September 2018, the site lacked a search field. There is now a “Where do you want to go?” bar at the top with cards for the 200 destinations below in alphabetical order. Each features a cover image and a brief description of major attractions.
Diving into a city provides carousels for Top sights, Tours & activities, and Local tips. The latter list is quite useful and often compiled by those intimately familiar with a place, with the last section letting users explore by “Local tastes” and “Off the beaten path.”
A key aspect to Touring Bird is the list of providers to book a visit with. Users can customize how many tickets they need and other preferences, with the site then surfacing options from Expedia, GetYourGuide, Viator, and more. This curation helps users browse “without having to comb through endless tour descriptions on each booking agency’s website to determine what’s included or not.”
Once you find a tour, ticket or activity that interests you, you can dig deeper and see what’s included—plus availability, prices, cancellation policies and reviews. Then you can filter by your trip dates and, when you’re ready, click straight to the provider’s website to complete the booking.
Area 120 is Google’s internal incubator for experiments with efforts often sharing some similarities to existing products. Touring Bird has the same principle as Explore in Google Maps, but in a somewhat more curated and lighter experience. This corpus of data would be a useful addition in Maps, but that would hamper the great browseable nature of Touring Bird today.
The updated Touring Bird is now available on desktop and mobile web.