Google has fired up its options to help travellers book everything from airfares to hotels and more.
This week, Google announced it was expanding the information it has on offer to help people find the cheapest price online.
If it wasn’t already hard enough for travel agents to battle the likes of Expedia, TripAdvisor and Booking.com, now the biggest search engine on the planet wants a slice of the pie. It comes after Google started packaging travel earlier this year.
Google already shows people the lowest rates for specific airline routes and travel dates, but not it’s ramping this up to show a calendar of date combos, with the cheap flights in green, and the exxy prices in red.
“Being flexible on travel dates and where to stay helps save money when planning a trip—so now we’re adding more ways to explore dates, airports and hotel locations to help you save when you have a bit of wiggle room in your itinerary,” said Flights Product Manager Nabil Naghdy and Hotels Product Manager Ben Austin.
“Three out of five people who have planned a vacation in the last year said they’d be open to changing travel dates if it would save them money.
“We already show tips when it’s possible to get a lower price by shifting dates slightly; in fact, almost 10 per cent of the time that a Google Flights user sees a tip, they choose to change their original travel dates.”
Google’s new flight insights are now available on mobile and will be rolling out to Google Flights on desktop later this year.
And on the hotel front, Google is now showing travellers any given hotel’s price trends, unveiling the cheapest dates to snag a suite. You can also see these hotel prices on a map, so you can suss out what other places in the neighbourhood are charging.
Google’s Naghdy and Austin suggest considering nearby airports or hotel locations to decrease costs.
“Sometimes just changing the airport you’re flying through can make a big difference in the price you pay,” they said.
“In fact, for more than 25 per cent of flight searches you can get a better price by choosing an alternate airport.
“Now you can see all nearby airports on an interactive map, view the distance between each one and your final destination, and select the most convenient airports to include in your results.
“This shows you all your airport options, offers more flights to choose from, and might save you a few dollars, too.”
The pair concluded, “When it comes to travel planning, flexibility pays off.
Earlier this year, at a Virtuoso Symposium, David Pavelko, Partnerships Director for Travel Google, said Google is focused on the “new travel consumer journey”, which literally breaks down the travel experience into “micro-moments”.
Google Flights kicked off in overseas markets several months ago, and allows users to use Google the same way they would any other OTA, by comparing flights and prices for different airlines, times, destinations and dates.
“Whether you’re traveling from Wollongong to WA, or Tullamarine to Townsville, Google Flights will give you travel inspiration and surface the best available flight options,” Google explained in a blog post.
Google even offers you the option to track a flight and receive email notifications when the price drops, similar to a Google Alert.
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