Google Hotel Finder Is Pretty Suite Indeed

This post was originally published on Lalawag.

Need A Hotel? Google It.

Yesterday, Google booked itself into a whole new realm of the web — the hotel search business. The web giant unveiled Google Hotel Finder, which allows user to search listing from sites like Expedia and Hotels.com as well as the web sites of many individual hotels.

What makes Google Hotel Finder different from the countless similar services already out there is how users conduct those searches. There’s plenty of the data filtering you’d expect from a service coming out of the Googleplex, including price filtering, hotel class and ratings. But, there are also two relatively cutting edge features that are pretty cool indeed.

First of all, when you enter a location, the tool draws a shape around that area on a Google map. Want to adjust your location to be closer to a particular landmark or broaden the neighborhoods your’e searching in? Just adjust the shape. It’s a brilliantly simple touch that makes searching for the perfect place to hang your hat that much easier. Google also highlights major tourist areas, and gives you the benefit of that big, all-too-familiar Google map to help you make your search area that much more precise.

The other major feature is the ability to search by the discount you’d be getting if you booked a particular hotel. Because Google is indexing historical pricing data, they’re able to tell you how much of a discount a hotel’s current price is versus their typical price. And, they’re letting you search via the percentage of that discount. For example, you can limit your search to only return hotels that are currently 50% cheaper than their usual cost per night.

Google isn’t yet in the business of booking hotel rooms — when you’re ready to book you’ll still be directed to a travel site or to the hotel’s website. But, if Google is looking to get into the full-on travel booking business, this is certainly a suite place to start.

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