Google Tests Hotel Rate Drop Alert Service
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Google recently tested a feature that allows users to track price drops for a reserved hotel room, according to Search Engine Land.
The feature, only currently available to Google employees, is presented through Google’s Google Now digital concierge service. After a user books a hotel room, Google Now will alert the user if the room rate has dropped, giving the user the option to cancel and rebook under the new rate.
Google Now can do this by scanning a user’s emails (if the user gives permission), detecting reservations, and then most likely utilizing Google Hotel Finder to check for price changes, according to the report.
According to Search Engine Land, “Google says it’s very much an internal experiment with no current plans to launch in that format,” so it’s unclear whether it will ever be offered to the public, but such a feature would likely have a large-scale impact on the hotel industry if it indeed became public.
Google Hotel Finder and Google Flights have received applause for their ability to give travelers a lot of handy information when they search for hotel rooms and flights (Google Flights in particular has received a lot of good publicity).
On the other hand, each service appears to only display bookable links for companies that pay for ad space. On Google Hotel Finder, in particular, there plenty of bookable links to online travel agencies (OTAs), but not as many that directly link to the hotels themselves. In a competitive world where hoteliers are sometimes finding it difficult to get a lot of direct business through their official websites and booking engines, this obviously could cause some disruption.
If this new Google Now feature was released publicly, that could cause further disruption, as more travelers would likely use it to cancel and rebook continually. That’s great for travelers, but could cause some problems for the hotel industry behind the scenes.
Of course, this could just be what it’s being called: a test. Google has yet to indicate that it will offer it on a broader scale.
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