Author Archives: Richard Holden

Find more sustainable travel options with new search tools

According to recent research, people want to make sustainable choices when they travel, but they often lack the information needed to do so. To help solve this problem, we’ve embedded sustainability into our travel tools over the past year. For example, you can see estimated carbon emissions on Google Flights, and when you search for hotels, you’ll find an eco-label on properties that carry a certification from a trusted third-party group. Today, we’re introducing even more tools to help you make greener choices when you travel.

With new filters for both flights and hotels, it’s easier to find more sustainable options. If you want to view only flights that have lower emissions compared to the average for similar trips, simply tap the “Low Emissions” filter on Google Flights.

It works the same way when you search for hotels on google.com/travel. Select the new “Eco-certified” filter and the view will update so you can browse a list containing only eco-certified properties. To improve the accuracy of these results, we’re now working directly with organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council (which provides LEED ratings) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to begin importing their database of eco-certified hotels.

Want to swap the car or plane for a train? For some trips, taking a train might be the more sustainable option, but finding the prices and schedules to get from A to B can take a few separate searches. Starting today, you can now shop for train tickets directly on Google Search, for travel in and around select countries — including Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan.

Just query something like “Berlin to Vienna trains” and you’ll see a new module in the search results that lets you choose your departure date and compare the available options. Once you select the train that works best, there’s a direct link to complete your booking on the partner’s website.

This feature will expand to more locations as we work with other rail providers. We also plan to begin testing a similar feature for bus tickets in the near future to broaden your choices for intercity travel.

Over time, we want to make sure that the environmental impact of your travel options is always part of the equation. And while there is still a long road ahead on this journey, we believe these new tools bring us one step closer in that direction.

Plan your summer travel, with help from Google

Summer is fast approaching in most parts of the world, and there’s a familiar travel planning buzz in the air. Whether you have a destination in mind or are just dreaming about an escape, Google has tools to help you get inspired and research your options so you can book with ease when the time is right. Read on for new features that’ll make travel planning a joy, this summer and beyond.

Track flight prices for any dates

On Google Flights, you can track prices for specific dates between two cities. Just search for your destination, toggle to opt-in, and we’ll email you if prices drop substantially for those dates. But maybe there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and you just want the best deal possible (dream trip to Rome, anyone?). Beginning today, you can start tracking prices to find deals for any dates, and you’ll get an email if we detect lower than typical fares in the next 3-6 months. As they say, good things come to those who wait!

The Google Flights interface on a web browser, with a search entered for New York City to Rome. The animation shows a mouse cursor opting into price tracking emails for any dates.

Browse destinations within driving distance

Not sure where to visit? The Explore tool lets you browse locations around the world with filters for things like budget or trip length. In the default view, Explore will show flight prices, but now you’ll also see a pink dot and a bubble that reads ‘Explore nearby’. Tap this feature to narrow your search to places you can drive to in a few hours, and select any destination to see helpful information including average hotel prices or what kind of weather to expect. If you do decide to take that road trip, there are plenty of ways Google Maps can help.

Find the perfect place to stay

Once you know where you’re going, it’s time to decide where you’ll stay. You can search for hotels on Google or head straight to google.com/travel. Heading to a new city? It can be overwhelming to choose what neighborhood to stay in, but with new interest layers on the map, you can quickly see which areas have the most options for dining, shopping or sightseeing. For more popular destinations, you can also tap ‘Where to stay’ under the search filters, for a handy neighborhood guide.

For some trips, you may want easy access to a certain landmark or address. Beginning today, you can enter that location in the hotel or vacation rental search bar and you’ll see a toggle to show properties within a 15 or 30 minute trip by foot or car. This might be helpful if you’re going to an event, like a wedding or a conference, and want to stay near the venue.

Stay organized along the way

For the vacation dreamers and planners, we’ve introduced a new way to keep track of properties that pique your interest so you can pick up your travel planning right where you left off. Just tap the bookmark icon on any hotel or vacation rental, and it’ll be saved for easy reference. To see your saved properties, look for the Saved tab on mobile or the right hand panel on desktop.

Here’s to safe and happy travels!

Find flights with lower carbon emissions

Last month, we shared new sustainability initiatives from our travel team, including ways you can find eco-certified hotels on Google. Now, we’re bringing information on carbon emissions directly into Google Flights.

Beginning today, you’ll see a carbon emissions estimate for nearly every flight in the search results — right next to the price and duration of the flight. So when you’re choosing among flights of similar cost or timing, you can also factor carbon emissions into your decision.

Google Flights shows estimated carbon emissions in the search results.

These emissions estimates are flight-specific as well as seat-specific. For instance, newer aircraft are generally less polluting than older aircraft, and emissions increase for premium economy and first-class seats because they take up more space and account for a larger share of total emissions. 

To put these estimates in context, flights with significantly lower emissions will be labeled with a green badge. And if you want to prioritize carbon impact, you can sort all of the results to bring the greenest flights to the top of the list.

An image showing search results for flights from Dublin to Munich on Google Flights, sorted by estimated carbon emissions. A pop-up window shows how one flight's emissions estimates compares to the average for that route.

You can sort results by carbon emissions and see how each flight compares to the average.

To produce these estimates, we’re combining data from the European Environmental Agency with the flight-specific information we get from airlines and other providers such as aircraft type, trip distance and the number of seats in each seating class. To learn more on how we estimate emissions, visit our Help Center.

It’s critical that people can find consistent and accurate carbon emissions estimates no matter where they want to research or book their trip. That’s why we recently joined the Travalyst coalition, where we’ll help develop an open model for calculating carbon emissions from air travel and promote standardization across the travel industry using this framework.

This update to Google Flights is just one of the many ways we’re helping people make sustainable choices in their everyday lives. Read the latest in this post from Sundar Pichai.

Helping travelers discover new things to do

While travel restrictions continue to vary across the globe, people are still dreaming of places to visit and things to do. Searches for “activities near me” have grown over the past 12 months, with specific queries like “ziplining” growing by 280% and “aquariums” by 115% globally. In response to this increasing interest, and to support the travel industry’s recovery, we’re introducing new ways to discover attractions, tours and activities on Search. 

Now, when people search on Google for attractions like the Tokyo Tower or the Statue of Liberty, they’ll see not just general information about the point of interest, but also booking links for basic admission and other ticket options where available. In the months ahead, we’ll also begin showing information and booking links for experiences in a destination, like wine tasting in Paris or bike tours in California. 

Ticketing options will show what rates each partner prices their tickets at.

Select ‘Tickets’ to see ticketing options available from partner websites.

There are a variety of partners that we’re working with, including online travel agencies and technology providers, to make this information available on Search. If you operate any attractions, tours or activities and want to participate, learn more in the Help Center.

Our goal is to help people find and compare all the best travel options, which is why partners can promote their ticket booking links at zero cost — similar to the free hotel booking links introduced earlier this year.

While it’s still early days, we’ve found that free hotel booking links result in increased engagement for both small and large partners. Hotels working with the booking engine WebHotelier saw more than $4.7M in additional revenue from free booking links this summer. With more than 6,000 active hotels, WebHotelier shared that they were "pleasantly surprised to receive reservations right from Google at no additional cost." This is one of the ways Google can support your business during recovery. 

Introducing a new ad format for things to do

We’re also introducing a new ad format for things to do that will help advertisers drive additional revenue and bookings as recovery continues. With more details like pricing, images and reviews, these new ads on Search will help partners stand out and expand their reach even further. Read more about how to get started in our Help Center.

This shows ads as the first search result and helps our paid partners get to the top of the page.

Ads to promote discovery of things to do and drive bookings.

It’s more important than ever to get the right insights, education and best practices you need as the travel landscape continues to evolve. In July, our team launched Travel Insights with Google in the U.S. to share Google’s travel demand insights with the world. And tomorrow — Thursday, September 23 — we’ll host a webinar to share tips and tricks for using Travel Insights with Google to help you better understand evolving travel demand. 

Across our new product updates and ongoing feature enhancements, we look forward to partnering closely on the travel recovery effort and preparing for the road ahead. 

Building a sustainable future for travel

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to booking travel: price, health and safety, environmental impact and more. Last year, we shared travel tools to help you find health and safety information. Now we want to make it easier for you to find sustainable options while traveling — no matter what you’re doing or where you’re going.  


To make that happen, we’ve created a new team of engineers, designers and researchers focused solely on travel sustainability. Already, this team is working to highlight sustainable options within our travel tools that people use every day. 


Beginning this week, when you search for hotels on Google, you’ll see information about their sustainability efforts. Hotels that are certified for meeting high standards of sustainability from certain independent organizations, like Green Key or EarthCheck, will have an eco-certified badge next to their name. Want to dive into a hotel’s specific sustainability practices? Click on the “About” tab to see a list of what they’re doing — from waste reduction efforts and sustainably sourced materials to energy efficiency and water conservation measures.

Someone searches for a hotel in San Francisco and checks the hotel's sustainability attributes.

We’re working with hotels around the world, including independent hotels and chains such as Hilton and Accor, to gather this information and make it easily accessible. If you’re a hotel owner with eco-certifications or sustainability practices you want to share with travelers, simply sign in to Google My Business to add the attributes to your Business Profile or contact Google My Business support


Making travel more sustainable isn’t something we can do alone, which is why we’re also joining the global Travalyst coalition. As part of this group, we’ll help develop a standardized way to calculate carbon emissions for air travel. This free, open impact model will provide an industry framework to estimate emissions for a given flight and share that information with potential travelers. We’ll also contribute to the coalition’s sustainability standards for accommodations and work to align our new hotel features with these broader efforts.


All these updates are part of our commitment over the next decade to invest in technologies that help our partners and people around the world make sustainable choices. Look out for more updates in the months ahead as our travel sustainability team works with experts and partners to create a more sustainable future for all.

Helping travelers discover new things to do

While travel restrictions continue to vary across the globe, people are still dreaming of places to visit and things to do. Searches for “activities near me” have grown over the past 12 months, with specific queries like “ziplining” growing by 280% and “aquariums” by 115% globally. In response to this increasing interest, and to support the travel industry’s recovery, we’re introducing new ways to discover attractions, tours and activities on Search. 

Now, when people search on Google for attractions like the Tokyo Tower or the Statue of Liberty, they’ll see not just general information about the point of interest, but also booking links for basic admission and other ticket options where available. In the months ahead, we’ll also begin showing information and booking links for experiences in a destination, like wine tasting in Paris or bike tours in California. 

Ticketing options will show what rates each partner prices their tickets at.

Select ‘Tickets’ to see ticketing options available from partner websites.

There are a variety of partners that we’re working with, including online travel agencies and technology providers, to make this information available on Search. If you operate any attractions, tours or activities and want to participate, learn more in the Help Center.

Our goal is to help people find and compare all the best travel options, which is why partners can promote their ticket booking links at zero cost — similar to the free hotel booking links introduced earlier this year.

While it’s still early days, we’ve found that free hotel booking links result in increased engagement for both small and large partners. Hotels working with the booking engine WebHotelier saw more than $4.7M in additional revenue from free booking links this summer. With more than 6,000 active hotels, WebHotelier shared that they were "pleasantly surprised to receive reservations right from Google at no additional cost." This is one of the ways Google can support your business during recovery. 

Introducing a new ad format for things to do

We’re also introducing a new ad format for things to do that will help advertisers drive additional revenue and bookings as recovery continues. With more details like pricing, images and reviews, these new ads on Search will help partners stand out and expand their reach even further. Read more about how to get started in our Help Center.

This shows ads as the first search result and helps our paid partners get to the top of the page.

Ads to promote discovery of things to do and drive bookings.

It’s more important than ever to get the right insights, education and best practices you need as the travel landscape continues to evolve. In July, our team launched Travel Insights with Google in the U.S. to share Google’s travel demand insights with the world. And tomorrow — Thursday, September 23 — we’ll host a webinar to share tips and tricks for using Travel Insights with Google to help you better understand evolving travel demand. 

Across our new product updates and ongoing feature enhancements, we look forward to partnering closely on the travel recovery effort and preparing for the road ahead. 

Plan your winter getaway now with new features in Google Flights, Trips, and hotel search

The end of the year is fast approaching, but the fun doesn’t have to end after the ball drops in Times Square. When you’re ready to kick off your travel plans for 2018 and take a weekend getaway, check out our trending destinations for travel inspiration, and our new features to feel confident you’re getting a good deal.

Get tips when the price is right

Long weekends are a great excuse to escape to warmer weather, but worrying about getting the best price for your vacation can be stressful. A recent study we did indicated that travelers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacations – more than with any other discretionary purchase.

Google Flights can help you get out of town, even when you're on a budget. Using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical flights data, Flights displays tips under your search results, and you can scroll through them to figure out when it’s best to book flights. Say you were searching for flights to Honolulu, and flights from your destination were cheaper than usual. A tip would say that “prices are less than normal” and by how much to indicate you’d spotted a deal. Or, if prices tend to remain steady for the date and place you’re searching for, a tip would indicate the price “won’t drop further” based on our price prediction algorithms.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Flights-Price-less-than-usual_2000x1224.gif

Similarly, when you search for a hotel on Google, a new tip will appear above results when room rates are higher than usual, or if the area is busier than usual due to a holiday, music festival, or even a business conference. So if you're planning a trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas, you can make sure you're avoiding dates when big conferences are scheduled and hotel prices tend to be high.

Hotel Mkt Insights

If you prefer to wait and see if prices drop, you can now get email price alerts by opting into Hotel Price Tracking on your phone—this will roll out on desktop in the new year.

Hotel Email Price Tracking

See the sights without breaking the bank

Vacation time is precious, and once you book your flight and hotel and arrive at your destination, it’s time to have some fun. Google Trips’ new Discounts feature helps you instantly access deals for ticketing and tours on top attractions and activities. Book and save on a tour of the Mayan ruins near Cancun, or get priority access to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. No matter where you’re headed (and if you need ideas, read on), Trips makes it easy to browse and access fun stuff to do on your vacation without breaking the bank.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Trips-Discounts_2000x1224.gif

Head to the beach for MLK Weekend

People are already searching for flights for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, from January 12th to 15th. The top trending domestic destinations for MLK Weekend offer a warm climate—with Florida and Hawaii taking the lead. For folks heading out of the country, Cancun and Bangkok are top beach destinations, whereas Rome and Tokyo are top cultural destinations.

MLK Trends.jpg

Pick a tropical island or go across the pond for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ weekend is right on the heels of Valentine’s Day next year, so it’s easy to take time off to spend time with that special someone, celebrate singledom with friends, or maybe just treat yourself to a solo adventure. Tropical islands are the most popular for a domestic getaway, with three of Hawaii’s major islands—Oahu, Maui, and Kauai—all trending in flight searches. For international flight searches, Cancun and Bangkok still top the list, but classic European cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona are also climbing in popularity.

Presidents Trends.jpg

Amidst celebrations with friends and family this December, start dreaming about your next winter getaway in the new year. We’ll help you get there.

Source: Travel


Plan your winter getaway now with new features in Google Flights, Trips, and hotel search

The end of the year is fast approaching, but the fun doesn’t have to end after the ball drops in Times Square. When you’re ready to kick off your travel plans for 2018 and take a weekend getaway, check out our trending destinations for travel inspiration, and our new features to feel confident you’re getting a good deal.

Get tips when the price is right

Long weekends are a great excuse to escape to warmer weather, but worrying about getting the best price for your vacation can be stressful. A recent study we did indicated that travelers are most concerned about finding the best price for their vacations – more than with any other discretionary purchase.

Google Flights can help you get out of town, even when you're on a budget. Using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical flights data, Flights displays tips under your search results, and you can scroll through them to figure out when it’s best to book flights. Say you were searching for flights to Honolulu, and flights from your destination were cheaper than usual. A tip would say that “prices are less than normal” and by how much to indicate you’d spotted a deal. Or, if prices tend to remain steady for the date and place you’re searching for, a tip would indicate the price “won’t drop further” based on our price prediction algorithms.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Flights-Price-less-than-usual_2000x1224.gif

Similarly, when you search for a hotel on Google, a new tip will appear above results when room rates are higher than usual, or if the area is busier than usual due to a holiday, music festival, or even a business conference. So if you're planning a trip to San Francisco or Las Vegas, you can make sure you're avoiding dates when big conferences are scheduled and hotel prices tend to be high.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Hotel-Email-Price-Tracking_2000x1224.gif

If you prefer to wait and see if prices drop, you can now get email price alerts by opting into Hotel Price Tracking on your phone—this will roll out on desktop in the new year.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Hotel-Mkt-Insights_2000x1224.gif

See the sights without breaking the bank

Vacation time is precious, and once you book your flight and hotel and arrive at your destination, it’s time to have some fun. Google Trips’ new Discounts feature helps you instantly access deals for ticketing and tours on top attractions and activities. Book and save on a tour of the Mayan ruins near Cancun, or get priority access to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. No matter where you’re headed (and if you need ideas, read on), Trips makes it easy to browse and access fun stuff to do on your vacation without breaking the bank.

GoogleTravel_Posts_Static_Trips-Discounts_2000x1224.gif

Head to the beach for MLK Weekend

People are already searching for flights for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, from January 12th to 15th. The top trending domestic destinations for MLK Weekend offer a warm climate—with Florida and Hawaii taking the lead. For folks heading out of the country, Cancun and Bangkok are top beach destinations, whereas Rome and Tokyo are top cultural destinations.

MLK Trends.jpg

Pick a tropical island or go across the pond for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ weekend is right on the heels of Valentine’s Day next year, so it’s easy to take time off to spend time with that special someone, celebrate singledom with friends, or maybe just treat yourself to a solo adventure. Tropical islands are the most popular for a domestic getaway, with three of Hawaii’s major islands—Oahu, Maui, and Kauai—all trending in flight searches. For international flight searches, Cancun and Bangkok still top the list, but classic European cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona are also climbing in popularity.

Presidents Trends.jpg

Amidst celebrations with friends and family this December, start dreaming about your next winter getaway in the new year. We’ll help you get there.

Finding the perfect hotel and flight for your trip

With summer in full swing, and the holiday travel season right around the corner, it’s time to plan those last-minute vacations and start thinking about where you’ll be spending your holidays this year. Today we’re announcing several updates to Google Flights and hotel search on Google to make it easier to find the right flight or the right hotel, at the right price, for your next trip.

Track airfare changes with Google Flights

Want to stay up to date on changing flight fares without having to continually check prices? You can now track fare changes for a date and route combination, or track specific flights in Google Flights, by simply selecting to track prices after you’ve searched for a flight. When prices either increase or decrease significantly, you’ll be notified by email and Google Now cards. This is rolling out over the course of the next few weeks in all 26 countries where Google Flights is available.

Travel - 7.12 - Images 1.png

Google Flights: tracked flights on mobile and email notification of price change


Find the right hotel at the right price with Google

When it comes to booking a hotel, making the best decision can be stressful. We’re now making it easier for you to find the right hotel at the right price.

Everyone loves a good deal. When searching on Google for “hotels in [location]”, you may now see a "Deal" label indicating that a hotel’s price is lower than usual compared to historical pricing, or if there are discounts to the normal rate for those dates. These deals are automatically identified by our algorithms when we see a significant reduction in price. This will be rolling out globally over the next few months.

You can now filter results according to your preferences, like “Price” or “Top rated”, with one tap on your phone. You can even combine multiple criteria like “Top-rated pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco under $200” when searching for the perfect hotel. This is now available in the U.S. and will roll out globally later this year.

Travel - 7.12 - Images 2.png

Smart filters and deals in hotel search on Google

If there is an opportunity to save money or find better availability by moving your dates slightly, we may show you Tips. For example, you may see a Tip like, “Save $105 if you stay Wed, Jul 13 - Fri, Jul 15”. If the new dates work for you, simply tap to update your search and take advantage of the savings. We’ll be rolling Tips out globally over the coming months.

We hope these updates make planning your next trip easier and stress-free!

Source: Travel


Finding the perfect hotel and flight for your trip

With summer in full swing, and the holiday travel season right around the corner, it’s time to plan those last-minute vacations and start thinking about where you’ll be spending your holidays this year. Today we’re announcing several updates to Google Flights and hotel search on Google to make it easier to find the right flight or the right hotel, at the right price, for your next trip.

Track airfare changes with Google Flights

Want to stay up to date on changing flight fares without having to continually check prices? You can now track fare changes for a date and route combination, or track specific flights in Google Flights, by simply selecting to track prices after you’ve searched for a flight. When prices either increase or decrease significantly, you’ll be notified by email and Google Now cards. This is rolling out over the course of the next few weeks in all 26 countries where Google Flights is available.

Travel - 7.12 - Images 1.png

Google Flights: tracked flights on mobile and email notification of price change


Find the right hotel at the right price with Google

When it comes to booking a hotel, making the best decision can be stressful. We’re now making it easier for you to find the right hotel at the right price.

Everyone loves a good deal. When searching on Google for “hotels in [location]”, you may now see a "Deal" label indicating that a hotel’s price is lower than usual compared to historical pricing, or if there are discounts to the normal rate for those dates. These deals are automatically identified by our algorithms when we see a significant reduction in price. This will be rolling out globally over the next few months.

You can now filter results according to your preferences, like “Price” or “Top rated”, with one tap on your phone. You can even combine multiple criteria like “Top-rated pet-friendly hotels in San Francisco under $200” when searching for the perfect hotel. This is now available in the U.S. and will roll out globally later this year.

Travel - 7.12 - Images 2.png

Smart filters and deals in hotel search on Google

If there is an opportunity to save money or find better availability by moving your dates slightly, we may show you Tips. For example, you may see a Tip like, “Save $105 if you stay Wed, Jul 13 - Fri, Jul 15”. If the new dates work for you, simply tap to update your search and take advantage of the savings. We’ll be rolling Tips out globally over the coming months.

We hope these updates make planning your next trip easier and stress-free!

Source: Travel