Never content with the way things are, Google have once again pushed the boundaries of search with their Hotel Finder experiment. As announced on their official search blog, they’ve introduced the new search tool to make finding that hotel you want that little bit easier.
It’s being trialled in the US at present, but assuming it’s a hit, like most other Google search tools, it should make its way across the Atlantic. So what’s it like? Let’s take a look…
Well first of all, you have your search bar down the left hand side, as shown below. You can search using location filters with a really handy feature where you can draw your preferred search area in a particular location. You can then narrow down your search by the dates you want to stay, the price your willing to pay and the rating of the hotel as well as user’s ratings and comments.
As mentioned, it’s really handy to be able to draw a shape of your preferred location. For example, below I have drawn a shape around New York’s Manhattan Island. There’s quite a lot of hotels clustered in the area I have drawn, so I can use the search filters on the left hand side (as shown above) to narrow down a hotel that’s suitable to my requirements.
What’s also really quite clever is that you can compare the hotel’s price to that of its average price throughout the year. So this could be a certain percentage more or a less than what you would normally pay. Great for bagging a bargain (or avoiding a rip-off)!
From here, you can select which hotel is of interest to you. You’ll be presented with more details about that specific hotel and you can either add it to a shortlist or book straight through. When you select ‘book’, you’ll be presented with a drop down bar with all of the sites where you can book this specific hotel and their prices.
As mentioned a few months back, Google had started to implement booking hotels through their SERP’s using a piece of software called Hotel Price Ads [See: Are Google Flying High with the Purchase of ITA?]. Whilst the purchase of ITA has nothing to do with Hotel search finder, it does symbolise Google’s determination to crack the booming online travel market, and this recently developed search tool could be just the ticket.
However, understandably the hotel industry is not best pleased with this latest development. Assuming this search tool gets the green light, these listing will be placed higher up the results than their competition. Now when Google implemented Hotel Price Ads into their search results, they indicated categorically that these would not influence search results.
Either way, for hotels and businesses alike, if this does take off it’ll be better to be listed with Hotel finder than if you were not.