“Travel planning is complicated,” Richard Holden, the company’s VP for Product Management, Travel, said in a blog post this week. “That’s why today, we’re simplifying the way we help travellers plan trips with Google across devices.”
‘Google Trips’, as the page is titled (not to be confused with the offline mobile app), allows browsers to search for flights, hotels and packages, as well as explore possible destinations, all on a single landing page.
At this stage, the company is not jumping ahead with sales of flights and holidays – instead continuing with its metasearch model, where users click through to book rooms and airfares provided by advertisers.
Yesterday, for example, I booked a hotel in Cork. Today, when I open the landing page, it prompts me to review this trip and “continue planning” – drawing information from my use of other tools like Gmail, Search and Maps.
Click through further, and I’m presented with options of things to do in the city based on places I have starred in Google Maps, with travel articles gleaned from around the web, and even with a weather forecast.
Given its billions of users, access to personal data and intuitive user experiences, booking giants like Expedia and Priceline may well be worried – though they still reap the bookings rewards… for now.