Tag Archives: travel

More choice for travelers with free hotel booking links

While the past 12 months have been difficult for both travelers and the travel industry, we’re optimistic about the road ahead. People are eager to know when they can travel again, and travel companies are wondering how they can best meet consumer needs once the pandemic subsides. We’ve been helping answer some of these questions with data-driven tools for users and the travel industry – but this is only one piece of the puzzle.


When travel does resume in earnest, it’s crucial that people can find the information they’re looking for and easily connect with travel companies online. For many years, we’ve helped travelers choose the right hotel by providing a list of relevant properties, along with information like reviews, photos, and hotel amenities. Hotel booking links have been offered via Hotel Ads, which display real-time pricing and availability for specific dates of travel. We've seen that users find these hotel booking links to be highly useful, and partners find them to be a valuable source of potential customers. 


Now, we’re improving this experience by making it free for hotels and travel companies around the world to appear in hotel booking links, beginning this week on google.com/travel. With full access to a wider range of hotel prices, users will have a more comprehensive set of options as they research their trip and ultimately decide where to book.
Free hotel booking links on a desktop browser

For all hotels and travel companies, this change brings a new, free way to reach potential customers. For advertisers, free booking links can extend the reach of existing Hotel Ads campaigns. Our testing of this new feature shows that all partner types — from individual hotels to online travel agents — benefit from free booking links through increased booking traffic and user engagement.

Partners who already participate in the Hotel Prices API and Hotel Ads do not need to take any further action to appear in free booking links, and any hotel or travel company is eligible to participate via their Hotel Center account. Over the coming months, we’ll also continue to improve the onboarding process for new partners on Hotel Center and introduce tools that allow individual hotels to provide their rates and availability directly, without complex technical requirements. 


Today’s update is part of our larger effort to ensure people have access to all offers available to them by providing free and easy ways for businesses to connect with people on Google. We made it free for partners to participate in Google Flights early last year, and in April we opened our Shopping tab to free listings for online retail. Over time, we’ll continue building this open platform, so that all partners will have even more opportunities to highlight their information and help people book a flight, find a place to stay, or explore a new destination. 


Although the world will certainly look different when travel comes back, our mission to be a trusted source of travel information will remain unchanged. We look forward to building better user experiences and partnering closely with the entire industry in service of this mission.


Tools to help the travel industry’s recovery

Down the road from our Asia Pacific headquarters, one of the world’s most connected travel hubs—Singapore Changi Airport—is unusually quiet. It’s been this way for months, with global air passenger numbers falling by almost 90 per cent in 2020. 


This has been a devastating year for the tourism industry and the $9 trillion global travel economy—but there are signs of promise, with domestic flights increasing in some countries in Asia Pacific, encouraging news on vaccines, and governments exploring ways of opening up safe international travel. We also know there’s pent-up demand in the region, with one in two people eager or very eager to travel now, and search interest in travel back up to about 50 percent of its pre-COVID level.  


While Asia Pacific is still in the early stages of a potential re-opening, and governments are being as careful as possible, we want to do everything we can to help the travel and tourism industry get ready for what’s next. Today, we’re launching Travel Insights with Google: a website the industry in our region — and ultimately, the rest of the world — can use to understand travel demand and make better-informed decisions. It’s built around three new tools.


Destination Insights 


One of the key things travel businesses, governments and tourism boards are looking for is information about the destinations travellers are searching for in different places around the world—and domestically.


The Destination Insights tool will give them a clear picture of the top sources of demand for a destination, and the destinations within their countries that travellers are most interested in visiting—helping them map out a possible resumption of travel on specific routes and make choices about where to communicate with potential future travelers. 

Singapore destination insights

Hotel Insights 


There are still millions of Google searches for hotels every day, which allows us to generate extensive insights about demand for hotel bookings. We're now making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to understand where demand for their property may be coming from by providing them with these insights directly. Hotel Insights is designed to help hotels of all sizes—but especially small and independent hotels—understand how to target their marketing as they plan their recovery.

Indonesia hotel insights

Travel Analytics Center


The Travel Analytics Center—available to Google’s commercial partners in the travel sector—will enable organizations to combine their own Google account data with broader Google demand data and insights, giving them a clearer picture of how to manage their operations and find opportunities to reach potential visitors. 


The message from tourism organizations is that they want as much information as possible to move quickly when restrictions ease and people begin booking travel. His Excellency Wishnutama Kusubandio, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, says that “when it comes to tourism recovery, I believe that digital technologies can be part of the solution,” while Singapore’s Minister for National Development, Desmond Lee, says he hopes the Google tools will provide valuable insights into people’s travel aspirations... as we work together to welcome the world to our shores again.”

We’re encouraged by the positive initial response to Travel Insights with Google, and we’re looking forward to helping meet the growing need for data and insights across the region. 

UNWTO quote

In addition to the three new tools, the site will be a one-stop location for other industry resources, including skills training through Grow with Google, Digital Garage and Google for Small Business, and resources from the UNWTO. And we’ll keep expanding the site with new resources in months ahead. 


Since the pandemic first hit, we’ve been focused on helping businesses and sharing information so people feel safe when they travel. Now, as we head into 2021, we hope to work even more closely with the industry as borders begin to open up, domestic travel increases, and international travel becomes possible again. No matter how quickly or slowly that recovery takes place, we’re committed to supporting global travel and tourism and the many people and businesses that depend on it.

Tools to help the travel industry’s recovery

Down the road from our Asia Pacific headquarters, one of the world’s most connected travel hubs—Singapore Changi Airport—is unusually quiet. It’s been this way for months, with global air passenger numbers falling by almost 90 per cent in 2020. 


This has been a devastating year for the tourism industry and the $9 trillion global travel economy—but there are signs of promise, with domestic flights increasing in some countries in Asia Pacific, encouraging news on vaccines, and governments exploring ways of opening up safe international travel. We also know there’s pent-up demand in the region, with one in two people eager or very eager to travel now, and search interest in travel back up to about 50 percent of its pre-COVID level.  


While Asia Pacific is still in the early stages of a potential re-opening, and governments are being as careful as possible, we want to do everything we can to help the travel and tourism industry get ready for what’s next. Today, we’re launching Travel Insights with Google: a website the industry in our region — and ultimately, the rest of the world — can use to understand travel demand and make better-informed decisions. It’s built around three new tools.


Destination Insights 


One of the key things travel businesses, governments and tourism boards are looking for is information about the destinations travellers are searching for in different places around the world—and domestically.


The Destination Insights tool will give them a clear picture of the top sources of demand for a destination, and the destinations within their countries that travellers are most interested in visiting—helping them map out a possible resumption of travel on specific routes and make choices about where to communicate with potential future travelers. 

Singapore destination insights

Hotel Insights 


There are still millions of Google searches for hotels every day, which allows us to generate extensive insights about demand for hotel bookings. We're now making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to understand where demand for their property may be coming from by providing them with these insights directly. Hotel Insights is designed to help hotels of all sizes—but especially small and independent hotels—understand how to target their marketing as they plan their recovery.

Indonesia hotel insights

Travel Analytics Center


The Travel Analytics Center—available to Google’s commercial partners in the travel sector—will enable organizations to combine their own Google account data with broader Google demand data and insights, giving them a clearer picture of how to manage their operations and find opportunities to reach potential visitors. 


The message from tourism organizations is that they want as much information as possible to move quickly when restrictions ease and people begin booking travel. His Excellency Wishnutama Kusubandio, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, says that “when it comes to tourism recovery, I believe that digital technologies can be part of the solution,” while Singapore’s Minister for National Development, Desmond Lee, says he hopes the Google tools will provide valuable insights into people’s travel aspirations... as we work together to welcome the world to our shores again.”

We’re encouraged by the positive initial response to Travel Insights with Google, and we’re looking forward to helping meet the growing need for data and insights across the region. 

UNWTO quote

In addition to the three new tools, the site will be a one-stop location for other industry resources, including skills training through Grow with Google, Digital Garage and Google for Small Business, and resources from the UNWTO. And we’ll keep expanding the site with new resources in months ahead. 


Since the pandemic first hit, we’ve been focused on helping businesses and sharing information so people feel safe when they travel. Now, as we head into 2021, we hope to work even more closely with the industry as borders begin to open up, domestic travel increases, and international travel becomes possible again. No matter how quickly or slowly that recovery takes place, we’re committed to supporting global travel and tourism and the many people and businesses that depend on it.

Tips for holiday travel and beyond

While many people will celebrate the holidays at home this year, 40 percent of Americans are still planning to travel. Here are a few ways Google can help you make informed travel decisions or revisit trips from holidays past.

Stay up to date on the latest travel information

When you search on Google for information about hotels, flights or things to do, check to see if there’s a COVID-19 travel advisory or restriction for your destination. If there are no restrictions, you can see indicators for travel reopening, like the percentage of flights operating or hotels with availability, directly in your Search results. On google.com/travel you can also see trends for flight and hotel availability over the past six months, as well as links to local resources, like the number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

Book accommodation confidently

Earlier this year we added a hotel “Free cancellation” filter on Search and google.com/travel to help you easily find properties with a refundable rate. In addition to refundable rates, many hotels and vacation rentals are taking additional measures to ensure the safety of guests in response to COVID-19. Now when you search for a place to stay on google.com/travel and view a specific property, you may see a tip when additional health and safety precautions, like enhanced cleaning, are being taken. Tap on the “About” tab to see the full list.

On google.com/travel on the hotels tab you see the Kimpton Brice Hotel overview with price and availability information. When you scroll down you see a badge indicating there are additional health & safety attributes. On a click, you are taken to the "About" tab where you see multiple attributes including enhanced cleaning, minimized contact, physical distancing, personal protection and food safety.


We’re working with hotels and vacation rental providers, as well as industry associations, to add more health and safety information to the results you see. If you’re a hotel owner, verify your business using Google My Business, and let guests know what measures you’re taking to keep them safe by adding health and safety attributes to your Business Profile. 

See local COVID-19 information 

If you’re planning to visit a new city, you can use the COVID layer in Google Maps to quickly get information about COVID-19 cases in the area—so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do. 

Stay informed on the road

Once you’re headed out on your trip, you can use Google Maps to see helpful safety alerts along the way. If you’re driving, we’ll notify you about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route, like when crossing national borders. If you plan to take public transportation, we’ll show you alerts from local transit agencies, so you can quickly know if government mandates impact transit services or require you to wear a mask while riding the bus, subway, or train.

Get nostalgic & relive past trips

For those not traveling this holiday season, you can use new features in Google Maps or Google Photos to take a walk down memory lane. If you’re using Maps on Android, you can soon access the new “Trips” tab in Timeline to see a summary of your past vacations, along with information about the places you visited, the total kilometers traveled, and the modes of transportation you used. If you choose to turn on your Location History setting, you can use Trips in Timeline as a handy tool if you’re feeling nostalgic or want to share vacation recommendations with friends or family. 

In Google Maps, tap on the Trips tab on your Timeline to see trips recently taken. Tap on the first one to France and scroll through places you've visited and destinations you've been to.

You can also see and share your past trip itineraries including hotels, restaurants and other places you’ve received reservation confirmations for in your Gmail by going togoogle.com/travel and tapping on the “Trips” tab. 

In Google Photos, you can already see photos grouped by location with theinteractive map view. In the coming weeks, we’re bringing Timeline to the Photos map view, so you can easily see the paths you took on a certain day alongside your photos—whether you captured that epic shot while hiking through Yellowstone, or while driving down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. You can choose to show or hide your Timeline from your map view's settings in Photos at any time.

If you will be traveling over the holidays, here’s a handy checklist to help you make informed decisions as you plan.

There are 4 phones showing different ways to help you plan travel over the holidays. 1) Search for something like "Hotels in Toronto" and you see a travel restriction warning. 2) Search for "things do in Austin" and you see reopening travel trends for Austin. 3) You can use a "free cancellation" filter for hotels 4) See health & safety attributes on the hotels tab at google.com/travel.

Make travel decisions with confidence

As some countries around the world begin to reopen this summer, we’re seeing more searches for places to go on vacation. Because the impact of COVID-19 on destinations can vary, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest travel-related information for places you may want to visit. If you’re looking to travel soon, here are a few updates to help you make travel decisions with confidence.

Get travel related updates about a destination

When you search on Google for information like hotels, flights or things to do, you already see when there’s a COVID-19 travel advisory or restriction for your destination. And, we recently introduced driving alerts to notify you about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route in Google Maps. As restrictions and advisories begin to lift, we’re adding information about travel resuming in a specific destination on Google Search. In the next week, you’ll  see the percentage of open hotels with availability and flights operating at the city or county level based on Google Flights and Hotels data from the previous week.

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    Travel trends including flights operating and open hotels with availability on Google 

When you visit google.com/travel and tap on a trip you’re planning, or search for hotels and things to do, you’ll now see trendlines for hotel and flight availability. Links to additional local resources, including the number of COVID-19 cases, are provided as well.

Find hotels and vacation rentals with refundable rates

Due to the uncertainty around COVID-19, people often want flexibility when making travel plans. Many hotels and vacation rentals now offer free cancellation to give travelers more confidence when planning trips. Search for a hotel, and later this month a vacation rental, on google.com/travel and filter to see only rooms or properties with free cancellation policies. Tap on a specific listing to see more details. 

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        Free cancellation filter for hotels

The uncertainty of COVID-19 makes it hard to navigate travel decisions. We’ll continue to share the most relevant information so you can make informed decisions and travel safely when the time comes. If you do have travel plans coming up, here are tips from the CDC to help keep you and those around you safe while on the road.

Helping COVID-19 responders find hotels

Meghan is an Intensive Care Unit nurse treating coronavirus patients in Indiana, and she’s been staying at a Hilton hotel with special accommodations for COVID-19 responders. As she explains, "Reducing the risk of bringing something home to my family has made a huge difference in my peace of mind.” 

Across the Atlantic Ocean, in London, Ruby is in a similar situation. She’s a doctor who’s also treating coronavirus patients. "I was really worried about being in the same space as my family,” says Ruby. “I wanted to find a hotel nearby that could host me, but it was difficult to find one.” 

Healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers like Meghan and Ruby can now find hotels with special policies for COVID-19 responders—like free or discounted rooms—using Google Search or Maps. For example, they can search for “hotels for essential workers in New York” or “hotels in New York” and narrow the results using a new filter for “COVID-19 responder rooms.”

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                                COVID-19 responder hotel room results on Google Search

On Google Maps and google.com/travel, a tip will appear at the top of the results if hotels in the area have a special policy for frontline workers. As on Google Search, there’s a new filter for COVID-19 responder rooms, which will show participating hotels. COVID-19 responders can then call the hotel directly to learn more about its policies and book.

To keep track of which properties are offering special accommodations, we’re working with partners including Choice Hotels International, Hilton, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, as well as the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Our initial efforts have focused on the United States and United Kingdom, and we hope to launch global coverage as soon as possible.

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Filter and and see hotels with COVID-19 responder accommodations on Google Maps

If you’re a hotel owner and have discounts or special accommodations for frontline or essential workers, let us know by signing into Google My Business and adding the attribute to your Business Profile, or get help from Google My Business support. 

Thank you to all the frontline, medical and essential workers who are helping others during this time and to the hotels hosting these heroes. We hope these updates make it easier and less stressful to find and book hotels if you need to right now.

Take a virtual travel day with Street View

As a program manager for Street View, I’ve had the opportunity to work in more than 20 countries around the world, collecting imagery that transports people to new places and powers Google Maps. 


You can even find my blurred face from time to time in Street View. I’ve trekked a desert in Abu Dhabi (with a camel no less) and walked around the Great Pyramids of Giza (I’m the blurred face to the right). You can see my reflection throughout the 152nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, as I operate the Street View camera, and you can see me playing tourist in the canals of Venice


Like many people though, life and work look different for me now than it did last year. While travel is now out of the question for many, that doesn't mean exploring and learning about our world has to stop. 


Over the past 60 days we’ve seen Google Search interest spike more than 700 percent for virtual tours worldwide. People are looking to discover world famous museums, with the Louvre, the Smithsonian and the MoMA among the five most searched virtual tours globally. Alongside museums, people are also searching for a little bit of whimsy and beauty with searches for Disney virtual tours and Versailles virtual tours rounding out the list.


Those destinations only scratch the surface of what you can explore in Street View. There’s more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery you can freely explore by yourself or with professional guides who are taking their walking tours virtual. Today, I’m inviting people worldwide to take time for a virtual travel day on Street View. 


When I drop into a new place with Street View, it shakes up my routine, broadens my perspective, makes me feel more creative and brings a smile to my face. If you’re like me, sometimes you need an idea of where to go before you, well, go. So here are a few virtual travel itineraries with pictures of my favorite places to travel to in Street View:


Picture perfect landscapes

Streets with a view

Places of worship

Ancient sites

Source: Google LatLong


Take a virtual travel day with Street View

As a program manager for Street View, I’ve had the opportunity to work in more than 20 countries around the world, collecting imagery that transports people to new places and powers Google Maps. 


You can even find my blurred face from time to time in Street View. I’ve trekked a desert in Abu Dhabi (with a camel no less) and walked around the Great Pyramids of Giza (I’m the blurred face to the right). You can see my reflection throughout the 152nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, as I operate the Street View camera, and you can see me playing tourist in the canals of Venice


Like many people though, life and work look different for me now than it did last year. While travel is now out of the question for many, that doesn't mean exploring and learning about our world has to stop. 


Over the past 60 days we’ve seen Google Search interest spike more than 700 percent for virtual tours worldwide. People are looking to discover world famous museums, with the Louvre, the Smithsonian and the MoMA among the five most searched virtual tours globally. Alongside museums, people are also searching for a little bit of whimsy and beauty with searches for Disney virtual tours and Versailles virtual tours rounding out the list.


Those destinations only scratch the surface of what you can explore in Street View. There’s more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery you can freely explore by yourself or with professional guides who are taking their walking tours virtual. Today, I’m inviting people worldwide to take time for a virtual travel day on Street View. 


When I drop into a new place with Street View, it shakes up my routine, broadens my perspective, makes me feel more creative and brings a smile to my face. If you’re like me, sometimes you need an idea of where to go before you, well, go. So here are a few virtual travel itineraries with pictures of my favorite places to travel to in Street View:


Picture perfect landscapes

Streets with a view

Places of worship

Ancient sites

Source: Google LatLong


Take a virtual travel day with Street View

As a program manager for Street View, I’ve had the opportunity to work in more than 20 countries around the world, collecting imagery that transports people to new places and powers Google Maps. 


You can even find my blurred face from time to time in Street View. I’ve trekked a desert in Abu Dhabi (with a camel no less) and walked around the Great Pyramids of Giza (I’m the blurred face to the right). You can see my reflection throughout the 152nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, as I operate the Street View camera, and you can see me playing tourist in the canals of Venice


Like many people though, life and work look different for me now than it did last year. While travel is now out of the question for many, that doesn't mean exploring and learning about our world has to stop. 


Over the past 60 days we’ve seen Google Search interest spike more than 700 percent for virtual tours worldwide. People are looking to discover world famous museums, with the Louvre, the Smithsonian and the MoMA among the five most searched virtual tours globally. Alongside museums, people are also searching for a little bit of whimsy and beauty with searches for Disney virtual tours and Versailles virtual tours rounding out the list.


Those destinations only scratch the surface of what you can explore in Street View. There’s more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery you can freely explore by yourself or with professional guides who are taking their walking tours virtual. Today, I’m inviting people worldwide to take time for a virtual travel day on Street View. 


When I drop into a new place with Street View, it shakes up my routine, broadens my perspective, makes me feel more creative and brings a smile to my face. If you’re like me, sometimes you need an idea of where to go before you, well, go. So here are a few virtual travel itineraries with pictures of my favorite places to travel to in Street View:


Picture perfect landscapes

Streets with a view

Places of worship

Ancient sites

Source: Google LatLong


Simpler summer vacation planning starts today

Over the next few weeks people will start locking in their summer travel plans—we see the biggest spike in Google Flights searches for summer vacation dates in early May. And since prices often rise in the three weeks prior to travel dates, you’ll want to start your research ahead of time. Here are some tips to help you decide where to go—and find the best flights and places to stay—wherever your travels may take you.

Pick your summer hotspot

Since the FIFA World Cup starts in June in Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg top the list of popular places to visit this summer. If soccer’s not your thing, then Vietnam, Tanzania and Indonesia are other trending international destinations. In the U.S., Hawaii continues to be a top pick for summer travelers, and places like Providence and Santa Fe are rising in popularity.

2018 Summer Trending Destinations

To find out more about the city you’re interested in, you can search for “Things to do” and you’ll see a list of top sights plus articles with helpful travel advice. Our machine learning models determine the most relevant, high-quality travel articles for your destination, like activities to do with children and where to shop.

Things to do in Moscow

Find the best flights (and prices) to meet your needs

Once you’ve got a place in mind, you can find the best flights using the recently redesigned Google Flights. A simpler home screen and search experience on desktop—combined with flight price insights showing the cheapest dates to fly, alternate airport options to help you save money, and other tips all in one place—make it easier to make the right flight choice quickly.


Google Flights new desktop experience

Now that some flight fares don’t include carry-on luggage fees, it can be tricky to know what’s included in the ticket prices you’re looking at. Earlier this year, we made it possible to see what’s included in Basic Economy fares in the U.S. when you select a ticket for airlines like American, United and Delta. To see only ticket prices that include access to overhead bins—and help you compare similar ticket types—we’ve added a “Bags” filter. This filter is now available for U.S. flights and will roll out to itineraries outside the U.S. in the next few months.

Spot hotel deals and tips quickly

To help you find the right hotel, we’re using machine learning and statistical analysis of historical hotel data and reviews to organize and surface the most relevant hotel information.

In the “Hotels” tab, you’ll be tipped off if you’re getting a room rate that’s lower than normal or, similar to the feature in Google Flights, shifting your itinerary a few days earlier may save you money. When you’re ready, you can select bed type, see add-ons like free breakfast, and book a room.

Hotel tips

Don't let the summer fun pass you by—search for flights and hotels on Google to start planning your summer trip today.