Kayak joins apps like Zocdoc and Domino’s in tapping pix to place orders.
A picture’s worth a thousand worlds.
Travel website Kayak is letting travelers search for destinations with emoji, such as tapping the Statue of Liberty to find flights and hotels in New York City, a red light for Amsterdam and a shamrock for Dublin.
The whimsical new search method only works for 10 destinations now, and some – like the sushi for Tokyo, or the smartphone for San Francisco – are more intuitive than others. Take the rabbit for Chicago, as in “O’Hare Airport,” which is a bit of a stretch.
Luckily, Kayak is inviting users to vote for the next handful of emoji. Should Milwaukee or Munich get the beer stein? Would Paris or Milan get the fashionable high heel?
This is just the latest brand trying to attract younger users with emoji. Zocdoc’s health service app now lets you search for a doctor and schedule an appointment using emojis to describe what you need.
Patients wheezing with allergies can now type in the cat or leaves icons alongside the sneezing face to seek an allergist, for example. Someone suffering heartburn would tap the heart and flame emojis.
Need to book a derm appointment before spring break? Input the bikini pic beside a shining sun. You can even plop the poop emoji down to find a gastroenterologist for digestive issues.
A Zocdoc rep told Moneyish that the emoji search is just a small part of the app’s core patient-powered search platform, where people can use plainspeak to get help for whatever’s ailing them. The brand’s research team realized users were more likely to search for a “gyno” than an “obstetrician-gynecologist,” for instance. And hemorrhoids were often misspelled as “hemroids.” So the search engine has been tweaked to pick up common slang and misspellings. And the emojis are just for fun.
“You no longer have to be a doctor to find a doctor,” the company explained in a blog post.
A master key to decoding which pics will pick a physician is coming soon. Or you can just get help by typing, you know, words.
Zocdoc isn’t the only brand oversimplifying things with emojis. Domino’s famously dished ordering its pies by just tweeting the pizza emoji back in 2015. Users initially need to set up a pizza profile with their billing info, address and favorite Domino’s order, but then they can get subsequent deliveries with just the tap of an emoji.
That same year, Fooji also launched an NYC delivery service where customers tweeted an emoji of what they wanted to eat – a sushi bento box, a pizza, a sandwich or whatever – and Fooji surprised the diner with something from a local restaurant that satisfied their tastes for $15.
“Emojis are a great way to get your point across in a single character versus a few words,” Fooji founder and CEO Gregg Morton told Moneyish. “It might sound silly, but sometimes words aren’t enough, and emojis fill that void – they are used over six billion times daily. The simplicity and branding opportunities are what make emojis an exciting next step in commerce.”
And considering that Oxford’s 2015 Word of the Year (we use “word” loosely) was the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji, expect more companies to tap these amusing pics to reach consumers.
This story was previously published and has been updated with new content.
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