Flying under the radar in travel news, Google quietly released its own hotel search and booking site last week. Aiming to compete with other hotel booking sites, as well as services like Airbnb, Google Hotels also offers last-minute booking on lodging.
In a blog post written on March 7, Richard Holden, Google’s vice president of product management for travel, wrote that one key benefit of using Google’s hotel booking site is the company’s well-known search functionality. For example, machine learning powers a filter to search for hotel deals. Plus, Holden wrote, “You can also view a hotel’s highlights—like a fancy pool, if it’s a luxury hotel, or if it’s popular with families—with expanded pages for photos and reviews curated with machine learning.”
The Google Hotels news comes ahead of what is often a pretty busy travel time of year—spring break—and an online hotel search and booking option fits well with the search giant’s existing travel products. For several years now, Google Flights has been building out new insights and search options. And of course, when you use Google Flights and Hotels for insights on where to go and where to stay, Google Maps can show you the driving or walking distance to and from several hotel properties and the attractions you want to visit.
Google (GOOG) unveiled Google Hotels on the same day that Airbnb announced it was acquiring last-minute hotel room-booking app HotelTonight. Airbnb, which may be preparing to IPO in 2019, has also been moving into everything from transportation to designing homes.