In a lot of ways, Travelocity’s talk at Day 1 of Lucene Revolution was three talks in one, but they all come back to the same conclusion: by using Solr, Travelocity is able to provide a better experience for their users.

Here are the slides for this session:

OK, that sounds a little like marketing hype, but listening to Sudhakara Karegowdra and Esteban Donato speak, you realize pretty quickly just how complicated Travelocity’s system really is, and how difficult — if not impossible — it would be to do what they do without enterprise search software like Solr.

Travelocity takes in data from all over the world, in multiple languages, from multiple sources, all with disparate data structures. They then need to take all of that data and turn it into not just the main Travelocity site, but also many global sites, and millions of long tail landing pages — for example, “pet friendly hotels with Internet access within 3 miles of San Francisco Airport” — as well as providing intelligent location resolution for auto-complete, and allowing for additional innovation.

Oh, and did we mention it has to scale well enough to allow for distribution via different brands and partners with their own websites and services?

Travelocity solves many of these problems by using multiple Solr cores — one core per language — and by keeping their data structure general enough to accommodate all of their data sources. That enables them to use Solr for something that you might not expect: merchandising.

But then, merchandising is just putting the right item in front of the right user at the right time. And that’s what search is all about.

Cross-posted with Lucene Revolution Blog. Nicholas Chase is a guest blogger.This is one of a series of presentation summaries from the conference.