Google today is expanding its booking features for travelers using Google services including Trips, Flights and hotel search, with a focus on helping people find better rates. For example, Google can now tell you the best time to buy an airline ticket or see when room rates are higher, among other things.
These price-tracking features are similar to those that some other travel services, like Kayak, as well as startups, like Hopper, 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.
With Google Flights, the company is leveraging machine learning technology to analyze historical price data to inform you as to when it’s the best time to book a flight. After entering in a destination, you can receive tips like “prices won’t drop further” or “prices are less than normal,” to help you figure out if you should book now or wait. These tips appear above your search results, and are of more use to leisure travelers whose dates may be flexible.
The flight search price tracking is rolling out worldwide, on both desktop and mobile.
Meanwhile, Google’s hotel search results will offer the same kind of information. After searching for a hotel on Google, you’ll see if room rates are higher or the area is busier than usual due to a local event. You can also opt in to receive email alerts about price fluctuations, starting on desktop early next year.
This price tracking is available globally in all languages on mobile.
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 – but only in limited markets. Now it has to compete with Google in this area as well.
Finally, Google is also adding information about discounted tickets and tours in its Google Trips mobile application for iOS and Android.
The Google Trips app was launched just over a year ago, as a personalized travel planner. 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, Portuguese.