Google launches hotel booking search
Within a few months, Google’s threat to online hotel booking is getting even bigger. The technology giant has released to the general public a fully functional hotel booking site and the impact it can have on existing booking platforms such as Airbnb is enormous.
Richard Holden, Google’s vice president of travel product management, wrote in his blog last week about the new features of Google Flights and Hotels.
Once the users goes to Google’s hotel site and selects a hotel, a “Book a room” button is very prominent. When the user selects one of the online travel agency or other metasearch advertisers, the traveler navigates to the third-party site for booking. However, there is often a choice to make a reservation directly from Google’s site on behalf of Agoda or Travelocity, for example.
According to Eric Zimmerman, Google’s director of travel product management, the new hotel search experience includes better price filtering, easier hotel search and booking information directly from Google. Also, the whole experience has evolved to work better on smaller screens of smartphones.
So if you go to Miami in late March and there are more than 300 hotel results for your search, you can now find the right hotel for your trip by applying a new “Deals” filter. This filter, Holden said, “uses machine learning to highlight hotels where one or more of our partners offer rates than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby.”
Ease of use
Customers can also choose a hotel in a convenient location and close to nearby attractions using Google Maps.
In some markets there is now a tab for flights, so hotel booking customers can simply book a flight and vice versa.
Changes that will shake the market
Chetan Patel, vice president of strategic marketing and e-commerce for the Onyx Hospitality Group and space expert, believes continuous improvements to Google Flights and Hotels will shake things up.
“By giving users the option to visit our site and phone the hotel directly by mobile phone or send messages, it was not available until recently,” said Patel adding that this small but important feature gives more ways for users to come contacting hotels directly, bypassing the intermediaries.
Another important advantage for vendors, Google now offers a clear index for prices, reviews and photos, making hotel content stand out far more than in the past. All this is provided organically at no extra charge, according to Patel.
“There is plenty of data we can see, such as how many visitors clicked on our website listing, how many calls came from the listing, how many visitors requested directions to our site, and which keywords led the users to our listing. Users are also able to ask questions that can be answered directly by the user community or by hotels. This gives one more option for suppliers to engage potential guests and customers directly.”
You can visit Google’s hotel reservation site by clicking here.