Hotels

Google sneakily launches hotel booking site

Christian Fleetwood

Tech giant Google has quietly launched its fully-fledged destination booking site for hotels, with trends and flight deals among the features.

With Google Hotel Search, the company now offers its own direct service for hotel bookings – a move away from providing its own external links for booking through third-party providers directly.

The new service comes with a few advantages over a third-party provider, with similar search filters, but the main reason to opt for Google’s new hotel booking service is its ability to synchronise across the company’s line-up of products.

When used as a travel insights tool, Google Trends is handy for planning holidays – a welcome addition for savvy travellers.

The service gives travellers the ability to see both historic flight price trends and current hotel deals around the world, factoring into similar abilities associated with Google Flights, the company’s long-running flight booking service.

The service also allows travellers to input key travel dates, including public holidays, further allowing users to see historic flight paths and prices ahead of events.

Last week, Google’s vice president of product management in travel, Richard Holden, wrote about the new features that Google Flights will be offering in conjunction with Google Hotel Search.

“If you have flexibility on where you go but not on how much you’ll spend, you can explore the world map on Google Flights to see all the destinations you can fly to on your budget,” he said.

“For either specific or flexible dates, you can use a price filter on desktop to set your price limit and see only the destinations you can fly to within this range.”

Holden noted that the deals feature uses machine learning to highlight hotels where one or more of Google’s partners offer rates that are significantly lower than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby.

It is believed that Google profits immensely from these partnering services.

As Skift reported, Google is already under heavy pressure for controlling how businesses access customers online globally, with companies around the world bemoaning the millions of dollars they had to spend on advertising with Google.

In an earlier blog, Eric Zimmerman, Google’s director of travel product management, said the company was also evolving the way its hotel search works on smartphones to help users explore options and make decisions on their smallest screens.

“The new hotel search experience includes better price filtering, easier-to-find amenity information and the ability to book right from Google,” he said.

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