Google extends Hotel Finder tool beyond US destinations
Google’s experiment with its Hotel Finder tool for US destinations must be paying off as the search giant has quietly opened it up to include European cities.
The tool enables users to search for a hotel within a named destination by editing a shape on a map.
Users can also view hotels within the shape as a list and by clicking on a ‘book’ button are provided with advertisements from online travel agencies and the hotels enabling users to compare prices.
Property reviews are also provided from Google Places.
The US test of Hotel Finder was unveiled in July and covered the main online travel agencies such as Orbitz, Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity.
Prices from a number of Europe-based OTAs are also featured including booking.com and easytobook as well as the websites of the hotel owners.
In August Google began integrating technology providers, with Trust International the first, to sit alongside OTAs and property websites.
Easytobook marketing boss Wouter Blok says the extension of the tool is ‘huge’ for the company and adds that easytobook plans to ramp up the amount of inventory it provides to Hotel Finder.
In his blog, he points out that the more Google pushes Hotel Finder via adwords, the better it is for his company because it creates a level playing field with the OTA giants that are integrated.
“We see great performance from it. 30% of all traffic goes through the number 1 position. If Google is going to move forward with this, it will lead people looking for a hotel to its comparison site.”
Blok and others will also be wondering whether Google will occupy the number 1 slot with its comparison ad amid cries of antitrust in the the US and Europe.
Linda Fox is deputy editor for Tnooz. For the past six years she has worked as a freelance journalist across a range of B2B titles including Travolution, ABTA Magazine, Travelmole and the Business Travel Magazine.
In this time she has also undertaken corporate projects for a number of high profile travel technology, travel management and research companies.
Prior to her freelance career she covered hotels and technology news for Travel Trade Gazette for seven years. Linda joined TTG from Caterer & Hotelkeeper where she worked on the features desk for more than five years.