Priceline Launches Hotel Maps - A Very Cool Way to Search For Hotels has launched a very cool new feature which integrates hotel prices (published prices, not Name your Own Price) star ratings and reviews on a map. Other Web sites allow users to plot results on a map after a search but Priceline's approach is innovative in that it allows users (particularly those who are geography dorks such as this writer) to start with the map. [more]

Alas, the prices are not dynamic but Priceline Maps still provide a really unique shopping experience by allowing users to adjust sliders to narrow down results based on price, reviews and/or star rating. It is also possible to zoom in and out to really focus in on a specific area. This is particularly useful in Manhattan but the tool works equally well over larger swaths such as all of San Diego.

Priceline Maps are also great because they show in great detail how close a hotel is to various other attractions and points of interest etc. No longer will consumers need to rely on a hotel description that states "walking distance to Central Park" only to find out that only a real New Yorker would consider 20 blocks walking distance! Talk about transparency.

Priceline Maps are also exciting because they are truly a global product. This isn't something that just works in major metros in the US--it works globally. We just looked at the location of hotels in Mauritius!

Check out Priceline Maps here for yourself.

These insights are excerpted with permission from Tom Botts' Hudson Crossing blog.