Google is expanding its hotel business—the most noticeable change is the introduction of 360-degree, high-resolution panoramic photos, similar to street view in Google maps.
Best Western is rolling out photos of its 2,200 North American properties and hopes to have all online by the end of the year, reports the AP. As Hotel Management reported earlier, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said it is also working with Google to get photos up of its 100 of its Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotels across the U.S. and Canada. Carlson said photos will include the lobby, bars, restaurants and guestrooms. Where applicable, guests are able to tour conference and meeting areas as well as the swimming pool.
Carlson is also testing a feature in Google Maps that will let guests move through a floor plan of the hotel. So far, it has only been featured at the company's Radisson Blu Mall of America in Minnesota.
Another move into the hotel world comes through Google Wallet, an online payment application that also stores loyalty program information.
Recently, Google has decided to completely reverse course with Google Wallet. Instead of putting the contents of your wallet into your phone and paying with it, now you can put Google next to the other credit cards in your wallet, reports Digital Trends. Amidst a constant cloud of privacy concerns, the Google Wallet Card is available for Google Wallet users, giving them a tangible reminder of how much trust they’ve put into Google. It’s essentially a standard debit card that you can use to pay with things using your Google balance.
So far, Omni Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International are the only hotel companies to participate. Avis car rentals, Amtrak, Alaska Airlines and Orbitz are the others in the travel sphere to so far be offered through Google Wallet.