Cheapflights is celebrating World Emoji Day (17 July) by launching the world’s first emoji flight search function, enabling mobile users to insert emojis instead of words for their flight origin and destination as they begin their search.
In order to build the functionality, Cheapflights mapped 40 destinations across the world with popular emojis based on common associations with each destination.
For example, users can search using a koala and a sushi and get flights from Sydney to Tokyo, or a union jack flag and bike for London to Amsterdam.
Launching initially as a prototype, Cheapflights is the first flight search engine to use its proprietary search technology in this way.
The release follows the launch last month of Cheapflights Chat – a Facebook Messenger bot configured to provide flight, hotel and weather-related results upon query, which has already seen more than 2,880 interactions. Cheapflights Chat is today also updated to include emoji search functionality.
Commenting, Samantha Otter, Cheapflights’ marketing director, said, “We want to make travel search as intuitive as possible, and delivering this new functionality furthers our brand promise to make search smart and simple.
“Personalisation is the future of travel search, and this is a further step in that direction, allowing our users to communicate with us in a way they’re comfortable. It encourages frictionless dialogue in whichever setting and communication medium they prefer.
“With World Emoji Day upon us, it felt like the ideal time to press the button on a function with which our team has had a lot of fun in the last few weeks. We hope our users do now as well.”
Emoji search is available on the Cheapflights mobile site in select markets globally including the UK, Australia, New Zealand Canada and South Africa. It will be available on the Cheapflights app before the end of 2016