Google quietly launched hotel booking destination with a potentially significant impact

by Simon Cohen

Google just made it even easier to book a hotel room, just in case you’re planning some holiday travels. In only a few months, Google’s threat to the booking travel space is looming even more substantial. The company has been working in the hotel booking space for a while now where the tech behemoth is expanding further to take over the metasearch arena for hotels and travel. The integration of “flights” into Google Maps in 2013 signaled its intention to disrupt the travel industry, then came the introduction of instant booking in 2015.

Originally, Google started its journey in travel search with Hotel Finder before changing its name to Google Hotel Price Ads and now to Google Hotel Ads. Currently, it only takes only roughly two clicks from Google.com to begin the booking process.

Fastbooking also previously reported that Google Hotel Ads has grown exponentially, surpassing TripAdvisor in terms of click volume, traffic, and cost-per-click. For its hotel clients, Google Hotel Ads has increased return on ad spend (ROAS) by 10.1x so far in 2017, edging out TripAdvisor at 10x. Volume has also now reached a level that is compelling for hotels of all sizes.

Now, Google has introduced a bunch of new features in Google Flights and Hotels, aiming to compete with other hotel booking sites, as well as similar services like Airbnb, which Google Hotels also offers last-minute booking on lodging.

Once the users go to Google’s hotel site and select a hotel, a “Book a room” button will be very prominent for the user. When the user chooses one of the online travel agency (OTA) or other metasearch advertisers, the traveler will automatically navigate to the third-party site to complete the booking. But there is often an option to book directly on Google for Travelocity or Agoda, for example.

One of the key benefits of using Google’s hotel booking site is the company’s well-known search functionality. For instance, the search engine can leverage machine learning to power filter to search for hotel deals, where one or more of their partners offer rates that are much lower than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby.

“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.”

Eric Zimmerman, Director of travel product management of Google

Google Hotels along with platforms like Fliggy and Airbnb’s recent acquisition of HotelTonight have a chance of shaking things up in the online travel world.

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