Google adds COVID-related health and safety info to Google Travel

Google today announced it’s adding more COVID-related health and safety information to its Google Travel booking service. Starting this week, when users search for hotels and vacation rental properties through Google Travel, they may see new information about COVID-19 safety precautions at the property — like enhanced cleaning procedures that may be in use, for example, or if there’s an option for a contact-free check-in, among other things.

The company said it’s working in partnership with hotel chains, vacation rental providers and other industry associations to source this health and safety data.

Individual hotel owners will be able to directly provide Google with their COVID-19 health and safety procedures via a new tool in Google My Business that lets them add health and safety information to their Business Profile.

At launch, several leading hotel chains are also partnering with Google on the new effort, including Marriott, Hilton, Comfort Inn (Choice Hotels), Holiday Inn (IHG), Best Western, Hyatt, Radisson and Four Seasons, the company tells TechCrunch.

Image Credits: Google Travel, screenshot via TechCrunch

On the vacation rental side, Google is working with a range of partners, including large vacation rental providers, medium-sized distributors and online travel agents, who are able to provide this health and safety information directly.

VRBO is among those partners, but Google says it’s not working with individual property owners at this time. It’s also not sourcing any of this data from entries in Google My Business, as it is with hotels — only what’s directly shared by partners.

Currently, this new COVID-related health and safety information is only available when users search for accommodations on — and not on other Google services, like Google Maps.

This update follows others Google made earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, the company allows users to find hotels and vacation rentals with refundable rates on Google Travel, as well as track hotel and flight availability in a given area.

In September, Google also added a COVID-19 layer to Google Maps, but this provides data about the number of cases per 100,000 across a given map area. Earlier, it had added COVID-19 checkpoints and other transit data to Maps, as well as features to help businesses survive government shutdowns.

The health and safety information will roll out to Google Travel users worldwide.