That’s right folks – Google released a new product on July 28th that specifically targets the travel industry! Once upon a time, if you were looking to find a hotel for your business travel or family vacation, you might have used Google Maps in order to research your most ideal destination or hotel room rates.
Google Hotel Finder helps users find their perfect hotel
With the release of Google’s Hotel Finder, it looks like those days are over since it has so many great features that are simply not available when using Google Maps. Not to mention, it’s only in Google’s “experiment” stage and I’m sure they will be improving and adding to this worthwhile tool very soon.
What makes this tool more useful than a previous site used by consumers?
- Define your ideal location – View the map and draw shapes around neighborhoods or large areas in which you are considering your stay.
- Easy comparison – View numerous hotels in one tab without having to navigate back and forth across multiple pages.
- Narrow down your choices – Easy one-click access allows you to add desirable hotels to a shortlist.
- Compare rates – Current price is compared against the average price the hotel offers and against other hotels.
Want to begin narrowing down your search? It all starts with the filter.
On the upper left corner of the tool is the filter section where you can:
- Search by U.S. city or zipcode – You can filter even further by drawing a shape (the best feature in my honest opinion)
- Hotel Class & User Rating
When you enter a city into the location filter, a map with a boundary shape is created to target hotels in this area.
If you wish to edit this shape to target a smaller or larger area, simply click on the edit shape button and a larger map image will appear to the right of the filter.
From here, I can drag any of the 4 points to create an entirely new shape that may more closely fit my desired area.
All the hotels within this area are shown with a blue dot. Iif a hotel has been added to your shortlist it will turn into a red dot.
Alright, so you’ve narrowed down your area – now it’s time to compare hotels!
Once you’ve specified the exact location you are wishing to stay in, you can start comparing hotels. A list of hotels within this area is created featuring information about:
- Hotel name and short description
- Hotel class
- Hotel rating
- Price per night
- Compared to typical
From here a user can click on a hotel and discover even more information about the hotel including:
- A longer description from the owner
- More hotel images
- Address, telephone and hotel website
- Review information – Ability to view all reviews by clinking link
- Ability to add to your shortlist
- Option to book your stay at the hotel – Drop down will display link to hotel website and any OTA’s where hotel is offering room nights.
Hotel’s that have their price per night listed will also have information about how their current rate compares to its typical price. In the case of the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, their current price is 50% higher than normal.
How are hotels ranked in Google Hotel Finder?
It appears that the hotels are naturally ranked based on their user rating score. Those with a higher rating are located at the top of the search regardless of star rating, price or value. You do have the ability to filter your results by hotel class, price or value if you wish.
What does this mean for hotels?
This application allows users to do all of their hotel research from one site. They can narrow down their search based on location, price, value, reviews, hotel description and imagery all from Google Hotel Finder, saving travelers both time and energy.
Because the search results naturally favor user rating, it is important for hotels to push consumers who have had a great guest experience at their hotel to review their property, as it will help boost their ranking in Google Hotel Finder.
Currently, Google does not offer any sort of sponsored or advertising options for those hotels who wish to pay to rank higher, but I expect this to come in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled!