One to Watch – Google Hotel Finder
Google has launched Hotel Finder (Experiment) - a search tool specifically designed to make it easier to find and compare hotels for your trips. It is another arm of expansion into price comparison products.
Currently only available for US hotels, the tool enables users to define areas that interest them, view popular locations with highlights, and shortlist properties to compare their prices (both current and average prices to contextualise any deals being offered).
Booking via Google Hotel Finder is facilitated by the much-discussed Hotel Price Ads which started to show first in Google Maps and later in the main search results earlier this year (shown below).
At launch, only the big hitting travel portals appeared in the Hotel Price Ads listings. Questions have been raised about how these companies were paying for these advertisements and how 'smaller' niche players get access to this space.
We'll need to see how this plays out in the UK market as we have many questions of our own: Will the same mysterious rules apply to Hotel Finder regarding advertisers? Will Google advertise this engine in the SERPs? Hotel search engines should watch this space.