Hat tip to Thomas Fjordside and Nuttakorn for this one, however I was very interested to see one of Google’s experiments in experimental phase.
Whilst we have seen many features relating to availability through the Google Places functionality such as those I covered in my recent post on the recent changes to the new Google reviews functionality on local results. If you look at the image below from that post you will see the functionality to book now just below the reviews
Taking that a step further, Google look set to take a size 12 step into the hotel booking market with Google Hotel Finder. Currently only rolled in the US, Hotel Finder could further spell danger on the horizon for the likes of Kayak etc in the US, and sites like Late Rooms, Superbreak and Trivago here in the UK should they roll out this internationally.
According to Googles official post on Hotel Finder effectively it will allow you to:
- Find a place to stay - To help you figure out where popular areas are, Hotel Finder shines a “tourist spotlight” on the most visited areas. They then select an initial shape for you based on what’s most popular or you can draw a shape around the area where you want to stay, e.g. on the ocean or along Sunset Boulevard.#
- Find the cheapest deals: In the “Compared to typical” section, you can see how each hotel’s price compares to its historical average, so you can tell if it’s good value for your stay.
- Compare and see reviews: When you select a hotel in Hotel Finder, Google will show you a collage of images, Google Places reviews, and key information right within the list.
- Add a shortlist – As you go through the option to save these to a shortlist are allowed.
Once ready to book, it then provides you with options from where you can book your hotel, which includes the likes of Hotels.com etc so one would suggest this potentially could be a double edged sword – as whilst there is certainly going to be some cannabilisation of potential traffic to this tool – there is still the opportunity for said providers to get their deals in front of potential customers.
Whether or not this is a major threat to the likes of Kayak etc is still open to debate however its certainly going to impact on them. To what extent is still open to debate.