Google Updates the Travel Search Experience on Mobile

Google Updates Mobile Travel Search

Earlier this week, Google launched a new update for its mobile travel platform which combines flight and hotel search into a shared navigation bar. In addition to this most recent update, late last year, Google gave a facelift to the hotel search filters as well as an update to how Hotel Ads were incorporated into the mobile search for users booking hotels on their mobile phones. These recent updates streamline the travel search on Google to be more of a one-stop-shop for the trip planning process.

Google Travel Search Update

This new navigation bar now includes four separate tabs that can be toggled between:

  • Explore – where a user can find suggested itineraries, where to go, popular sights, news articles, and more. If a destination is not entered, this tab will show options for weekend trips, popular destinations from your area, and travel inspiration
  • Flights – where users can search for flights with a variety of filters such as price, number of stops, times and airlines
  • Hotels – where users can search for hotels with a variety of filters such as user ratings, price, and amenities
  • Your Trips – which stores all past and future travel plans together in one place.

One of the most notable benefits of this combined search navigation bar is that the user only needs to input the date and destination once to look at available options for flight and hotels. Previously, the search required two separate queries where the dates and destination had to be input multiple times. In addition, similar to large OTAs like Expedia, Google is also offering a combined button on the Explore tab which features flights + hotels options bundled together.

Browse Flight and Hotel Options

Hotel Price Alerts

On the Hotel tab search, there is a new feature that allows users to track hotel prices. This feature, which was was only available for flights previously, lets users track when prices increase or decrease within a given date and destination range so they can book when the price drops.

Google Hotels Price Alerts

When the user activates the tracking feature for hotels, Google begins tracking the available prices and will email the user as soon as the prices either increase or decrease. This tool is most useful for leisure travelers that are searching well in advance for their hotels and are looking to book when the price is the best. It will be interesting to see how this will impact the advanced booking and if travelers postpone their booking in the hopes that a lower price will become available.

What’s Next?

Currently, these updates are launched only in the US and on mobile, but they will be available to international markets in the coming months. These updates will be useful for both business and leisure travelers and have the potential to increase mobile click traffic as it gives users an easy tool to explore hotel options at all stages of the purchase funnel especially the early stage.