The new functionality will allow the use of a whole sentence to search across Lastminute.com's travel and leisure options. Examples of searches would include "I would like a 5 star hotel on 10 November in Gran Canaria for 3 nights" or "a table for two in Covent Garden this evening".

The update is a move from the traditional drop-down box search system, used by most online travel providers including Lastminute.com, which had a total of 78 search boxes across products including hotels, flights and theatres.

Research suggested that people new to online travel sites do not have the patience to fill in all the different boxes when searching through the web site, prompting the development of the new tool, the company said.

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