If you’ve ever tried using the web to book a vacation, there’s a good chance you found yourself juggling a half-dozen tabs at once: a couple for hotel review sites, a booking engine or two, and, finally, a Google Map to figure out where exactly all these places are actually located. Today, Google has announced that it’s experimenting with making this a bit easier, by including hotel prices alongside their Google Maps listings.
According to the post, the feature is only available to a small number of users, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see it. It’s also only being tested with a small number of advertisers, so there’s probably a limited selection of hotels that have prices listed. Prices simply appear next to each listing on the map — clicking the price reveals which travel site is offering it (the example lists prices from Priceline and Expedia). Google notes that this doesn’t actually change the order of the hotels presented, it just augments the information shown about them.
Assuming this test goes well, it’s not hard to envision more travel-related improvements that could be made for Maps, which could easily become a lead-gen goldmine. Yes, there are plenty of other travel sites that do this, but most of us use Google Maps out of habit, so it’s nice to have.
This isn’t the first time Google has made moves affecting the travel space. Last summer, it launched a City Tours feature, which helps you automatically generate an itinerary of things to see on your trip.