News and Updates of Hotels, Resorts, Tourism, Travel, Airlines in Malaysia
Friday, July 29, 2011
Google Launches Hotel Search Tool With Room Price Data
Google has launched Hotel Finder, an experimental search tool, which enables users to define key lodging preferences in hopes of finding the perfect hotel for their travel needs.
Users input their preferred location, dates, price and rating details, and Hotel Finder delivers its top recommendations, in a list or on a Google Map. For the moment, it’s only available in the U.S.
Here’s how Google aims to improve hotel hunting with this tool:
Finding the perfect location. If you’re not a local, it can be difficult to figure out what area of a city you should stay in. Hotel Finder highlights popular areas on the map results. Google calls this the “tourist spotlight,” and it is used to determine an optimal zone for you to stay in. The shape of this area can be adjusted to focus on a smaller area. This is useful if you’ve got a rough destination in mind, such as along the Hudson River or near Times Square.
Getting a good deal: Users can choose a price range to search within, as well as compare that hotel’s historical pricing data to its current listing price. Clicking on a hotel will bring up the cost of a room per night and how that compares to previous prices. Google calculates what percentage the cost is above or below the normal. Bargain hunters, start your engines.
Comparing hotels: Hotel Finder simplifies comparative shopping. When users click on on a hotel, its full details pop up, including photos, Google Places reviews, pricing and other information. You quickly flip through results by using keyboard shortcuts (“J” and “K”) within the list view — a feature also found in Google Reader and Google News.
Making a shortlist: Users can build a shortlist of hotels they’d like to compare further. These results are marked with a red dot in the Google Maps view, and appear at the top of the page in the list view.
Click on the “Book” button in either view and a list of external options are shown. Clicking on a booking option pulls up that site — such as Priceline or Expedia — in a new tab. (Google isn’t getting into the business of booking hotels itself.)
Take a look at Hotel Finder’s features in the gallery below, test it out and let us what you think about the new tool in the comments below. How does it compare to other hotel-shopping methods?