Google Quietly Rolls Out New Platform for Booking Hotels
Whether you’re a new Thrifty Traveler or a longtime fan, you know we’re obsessed with Google Flights. It is simply the best platform out there to search for airfare, no matter your travel needs.
Google has been busy this past year adding a ton of great features to their Google Flights platform. Last April, they rolled out a new basic economy filter for domestic flights. Later in the year, they expanded this to include international flights. The list of improvements goes on and on.
In the past week, Google has quietly rolled out a new hotel booking platform. It works and looks much like Google Flights. But it could be a gamechanger when it comes time to plan your trip.
All About Google’s New Hotel Booking Platform
By visiting www.google.com/travel/hotels you will come across a user interface that looks very similar to what you know and love from Google Flights.
I started off by searching for hotels in San Francisco for a long weekend in April. The platform integrates with Google maps and will show you exactly where each property is located throughout the city.
Additionally, Google Hotels will highlight properties that are offering a deal based off of what the property normally costs. This is currently the case with the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Google tells me that the hotel is 17% less than the usual cost for the weekend I selected in April.
From there, Google will take you directly to the hotel’s website or to a number of different online travel agencies (OTAs) to book. As you can see below, booking directly with Hilton versus any of the OTAs doesn’t provide any pricing advantage in this example. But the power of this new tool from Google is undeniable in giving you a quick price comparison.
What Filters are Available in the New Google Hotels Platform?
This new hotel booking platform just launched, so there are only a few filters available. The first is a price filter, highlighted in the red box below. This allows you to set the maximum price for your search which will obviously limit the number of properties displayed.
Next, there is a filter for guest rating which is pulling directly from Google. I have filtered this to only include properties that have a rating of 4 stars or higher and as you can see, this cuts my search down to 73 hotels.
There is also an amenities filter which allows you to search for properties that offer things like free parking, a pool, and whether or not the hotel is pet-friendly. I have selected hotels that have a fitness center and are pet-friendly and my list of potential properties drops to 20.
Finally, there is a filter for the hotel class. This will be different than the star rating curated by Google reviews as it will be based on what exactly the hotel offers.
Additionally, you can click a filter to only see hotels offering a deal like the Hilton San Francisco Union Square from the example above.
What Filters are Not Included?
Being the platform just launched, the filters offered are much more limited than they are on Google Flights. However, knowing how often Google works to improve the Google Flights platform, I would imagine additional filters to the platform are only a matter of time.
For starters, I would love to see a filter for a hotel chain. This would be especially useful for elites of certain hotel chains and those looking to use hotel points for stays in a certain area. Right now, the website www.awardomatic.com is my favorite resource for finding hotels from a certain chain within a specified area but I think Google has a real opportunity with this by adding the hotel chain filter.
Further, there is no Google Hotels price alert feature. While the pricing of hotels fluctuates far less often than flights, the Google Flights price alerts feature is very handy. Google even revamped this recently to provide more power within the alert feature. I think we will eventually see something similar added to the hotels platform.
Google launching this new hotel booking platform is a major development. Google will surely improve this over time and I would eventually expect it to be as robust as the Google Flights platform. Searching for and booking hotels has just become much easier thanks to Google.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.