Google adds price tracking and deals to hotel search

Users can also be alerted of hotel price drops with email price alerts.(Getty Images)

Everyone loves a good deal — and now Google is making it even easier for hotel guests to find one. Google’s travel applications and services launched several updates this week with the most important to the hotel industry being price tracking. These price-tracking features are similar to those that some other travel services, like Kayak, Yapta and TripAdvisor, as well as startups, like Hopper and Waylo, already offer. Now Google is taking what has been a differentiating feature for those services and making it more broadly accessible to everyone searching for travel information on the web.

Earlier this year, Google Flights began displaying tips that alerted users of the best time to book tickets. Displayed in a carousel, these “flight insights” leveraged machine learning and statistical analysis, with suggestions noting if a price was particularly low and whether users should buy soon.

Google is expanding those smarts to hotel reservations. These tips will note when rates are higher than normal due to the venue being busier than usual as a result of holidays, events or conferences. The company notes that the feature will be especially useful when planning trips to Las Vegas and San Francisco.

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Users can also be alerted of hotel price drops with email alerts. These can be scheduled through the Google Flights mobile site, with the feature expanding to desktop next year.

The addition of hotel price tracking may be of particular concern to the popular booking app Hopper, which just recently began offering hotel price tracking in limited markets. Now it has to compete with Google in this area as well, reports Tech Crunch. Hopper launched in New York City earlier this year with plans to roll out to an additional 10 markets soon, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.

Google has been getting more involved with the travel space for awhile now. The Google Trips app was launched just over a year ago as a personalized travel planner, and automatically maps out a half day or a full day with suggestions for things to see and do. But it makes sense that Google would integrate its travel-booking features in here, as well, as opposed to just making it another way to leverage Google Maps’ data. The new ticket and tour deals will appear in the city you’re visiting within the app, and will be launched worldwide in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

Earlier this year at the Phocuswright Conference, Dori Stein of distribution management company Fornova spoke of the gatekeepers of technology — Amazon, Google and Facebook — and how they have turned their attention to travel, including hotels.

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