Google Maps is currently experimenting with a new feature which aims to make planning for vacations faster and more effective. The new feature on Google Maps displays specific prices for selected hotel listings.
When you search for hotels in a specific region (via Google Maps) you'll be able to enter the dates you plan to stay and see real prices on selected listings. The data displayed is based on advertised rates from sponsored results.
This feature is currently in the trial stages, having Google turn it on for “a small portion of users”. Google hopes this information will assist travellers with the easy option of finding and comparing hotel rates without having to perform more detailed searches.
“By showing you this relevant hotel rate information directly in the Google Maps results panel we hope to make this aspect of your trip planning more speedy and efficient- so you can get where you’re going and enjoy your travel destination!”
By using sponsored results, Google is not only assisting its clients by making their searches faster and effective but also monetizing Maps and other related locations based services.
This advancement could be revolutionary in the travel industry, allowing travellers access to real-time prices. Perfecting real-time channels is a goal Google has been working towards in recent years. With the apparent success of both Google Search and Maps, a feature which bridges the gap between the two functions could see Google finally achieving this goal.
Google assures its users that this new feature will not change the way that hotels are ranked in Google Maps, maintaining that Maps will still rank businesses based on relevance to search terms, geographic distance and other factors, regardless of whether there is an associated price.
Google did not specify how long the current experiment will be, however it did state “we'll evaluate the usefulness and effectiveness of this new feature based on both data and feedback, and hope to make it available to more users and offer prices from more partners over time.”