Google Travel is releasing several new tools to its search functionality to make the pandemic travel process easier and help users to make informed choices in-line with COVID-19 restrictions.
In the coming weeks, Google will roll out a number of features on its google.com/travel platform, including local coronavirus case counts, the percentage of flights that are in operation and hotel availability numbers while searching for travel. These are all “travel trends” based on Google flights and hotel data from the previous week and will join the existing alerts that Google already offers on its platform. Driving alerts have also been introduced to share details regarding COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along the route on Google Maps.
Google Travel is also adding a new ‘free cancellation’ filter to sort for accommodations that offer full refunds. Most of the major hotel chains are offering flexible policies, and Google looks to streamline all this information.
“The uncertainty of COVID-19 makes it hard to navigate travel decisions. We will continue to share the most relevant information so you can make informed decisions and travel safely when the time comes,” Richard Holden, vice president, Product Management, Travel, Google said in a blog post.
By pulling together coronavirus data and information on flights and hotels, the search giant is positioning itself as a one-stop destination for travel planning in this new era.
Custard tip: To increase your exposure on Google Travel and generate more direct bookings, your website needs to answer the most essential questions a guest (or Google) might have. Google’s hotel search interface allows users to look for hotels by room rates and check-in and check-out dates, so if your website doesn’t have your latest rates and availability clearly shown, they won’t be visible in the Google search results. To combat this, regularly audit and update your website with your latest availability, direct booking prices and cancellation policy to ensure you don’t lose out to an OTA.
To find out how Custard can support your search engine strategy, contact our team.
For more information on Google’s latest features, click here.