Google announced a series of updates to search results at a press conference today in New York. The updates are aimed towards helping travelers find the best deals on flights and accommodations.
In an effort to help customers find exactly what they want, Google Search is now able to handle more complex queries when people search for hotels. As an example, you can now type a phrase like “room with a hot tub in Chicago for under $200” and Google will return what you’re looking for. This command works with other amenities as well, which should help satisfy picky travelers.
When Google returns its results from a hotel search they can be filtered by price and ratings. Its algorithm will also be kind enough to alert you if there’s potential to save money by making slight adjustments to your travel dates. Hotel results will still include the ‘Deal’ label which was introduced last month.
If the particular hotel you’re looking at has opted in to the Book With Google program you may even be able to complete your booking without ever leaving the search results page.
Richard Holden, VP of Product Management for Google Travel, was quoted as saying that even though the company has advertising partners, results will be shown organically according to what best matches the person’s query.
Changes to Flight Search
A new price tracking feature will be available for Google Flights searches within the next few weeks. A similar feature already exists on leading travel sites, but Google is adding it in hopes that people prefer getting the results directly from a Google search query.
Google stated that its changes to both hotel and flight search are designed for mobile first, citing several new studies which show visits to travel sites from mobile devices are up 40% year over year. During that time Google say a 10% increase in mobile conversions. The new features will still be available on the web, but will likely work best on mobile.
The changes to hotel and flight search are available today for US residents only.
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