Our favourite search engine giant, Google, has quietly been experimenting with accommodation bookings and travel options that’s sure to have a massive effect on the travel industry. Their idea is to give online travel agencies a good run for their money and encourage direct bookings through a specialized traveller and hotel search portal. Great news for us, bad news for OTA’s!
Best of all it’s FREE
Travellers will also be able to look up and book flights as well as find and book accommodation, easy and convenient and best of all FREE for the establishment.
You can have a sneak peek at the portal here: https://www.google.com/travel/hotels?tcfs=EgBSAA and try it yourself. It’s super easy! The traveller enters the location he wishes to visit and is presented with hundreds of options in the area, 12 at a time, with maps included. The traveller will then be able to further filter by date, price and special offers to see which suits him best. When clicking on a hotel option they will be shown prices on the hotel’s own website first and then prices on other places advertised, like Booking.com etc. So the traveller will have first option to book direct. GREAT! When the hotels run out, other options come up, including holiday houses/vacation rentals and other self catering options with a valid Google listing.
Currently it is tricky to find the Hotels portal unless you know about it or use it as part of Google Flights. It’s the same underlying technology as the map and listing that comes up when a traveller does a normal Google search for accommodation, but currently results are limited. However, as Google rolls out this latest great feature, we’ll be sure to keep you informed.
What should you do right now?
In the meantime it’s super important that you have your Google listing in order, as this gives you an automatic listing on Google Hotels search. If you haven’t already listed on Google My Business, you should definitely do it now so you’ll be ready when Google Hotels becomes the next big thing!