We’ve come to know OTAs like the Priceline Group and Expedia when it comes to booking hotels and flights. They’re major players when it comes to the tug of war between OTA and direct bookings. But now, Google is taking some of the power back through its latest travel updates.
Google has changed the way we look for and consume information, period, and the revolutionary search engine continues to change our ways, even the way we book hotels and flights. With its latest travel update, it promises to bring ease and convenience to the consumers while boosting the power of direct bookings.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly how these updates work:
So many hotels, so little time
In recent months, Google has rolled out new travel features and added tools that predict flight delays, hotel prices, and more. And with its latest update, it has improved the process of searching and booking hotels, in an attempt to relieve us from possible pre-travel stress and anxiety.
Users are now given a new hotel search experience tailor-made for mobile. It allows them to filter information by price, occupancy, and other categories, which is really convenient when weighing hotel options.
Google connects users to hotels, giving them access to photos, ratings, reviews, location maps, and more.
Eric Zimmerman, director of travel product management said: “We’re evolving the way our 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.”
Book flights on the fly
Google Flights allows users in some countries to make easier mobile searches by showing them their flight options while on the go. (Click here to see if these features are available in your country.)
For example, if users search for a flight on Google Flights, they can now click right into the Hotels tab at the top of the page. This will show them the hotels’ availability and prices in their destination for the dates already selected.
It also works vice versa when users start by searching for a hotel. They can now simply click on the Flights tab to see the prices and fare options.
Find more, do more
In addition to these game-changing hotel and flight search features, the same options appear when users want more information about a specific place, or when searching for things to do in that area.
Users may click on the More Destinations tab on the top left and it will show them recommended places to visit, weekend destinations, and other trips that they may be interested in.
Finally, Google has also included a feature called Your Trips that helps users see, at a glance, all their upcoming and past travel bookings from Gmail. And although these trips are private, these details may be sent to family and friends right from the section.
As a result, these new updates don’t just help with travel planning. Aside from connecting consumers to travel and hospitality companies (which helps the industry’s direct booking campaigns), it also gives consumers more choices and thus making the travel experience a whole lot better.
“This year we’re focused on making your mobile phone an integral and useful part of your travel planning—and enjoyment!” said Zimmerman.