Google's Travel Search Just Got a Big Upgrade
With mobile visits to travel websites up 40 percent in the first months of 2016, Google is placing a new emphasis on helping travelers make decisions — and eventually, book — their flights and hotels.
Google's Destinations feature might be helping travelers pick their next vacation, but changes announced Tuesday are aimed at travelers who already know where and when their next trip is.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new changes.
You’ll now be able to ask for more complex things, such as “hotels with pools in San Francisco under $300 a night.”
Google is taking other amenities — like pet-friendliness, free Wi-Fi, and free breakfast — into consideration with its search results. The feature is U.S.-only for now, and will roll out to other countries eventually.
Aside from amenities, you can filter hotels by price and ratings, so you’re only seeing hotels within your budget.
Intel for saving money
Google is adding a popular algorithm from its Flights search into hotels.
Under the Tips section, you’ll get an alert if you can save a significant amount of money on your hotel booking by adjusting your dates slightly checking out a day earlier or later.
In the search results, you’ll see a Deals label when a hotel’s price is lower than usual or when it’s offering a significant discount.
Users can filter results by hotels with deals, as well. These deals don’t come directly from the hotel or agency, which could show inflated prices. Instead, it’s an independent label applied by Google based on historical pricing.
If a hotel has opted into Book With Google, travelers will be able to quickly book a room without leaving the search results page. No more having to wait for a slow, un-optimized booking page.
Built-in member rates
If you’re a Starwood junkie or a Hilton loyalist, you’ll be able to see your members-only price on Google. This is a win-win for both Google and big hotel brands, as it will drive people to sign up for free loyalty programs.
The changes aren’t limited to just hotels: A long overdue feature is finally coming to Google Flights.
Before, when you wanted to track the price of a specific route on a specific day, you needed to return to Google to see how the price has changed.
Now you can opt-in to notifications, either via email or Google Now, to easily track the price of a flight.