After a few weeks of testing, Google has officially launched new flight search and travel search features to help those who are traveling during the pandemic. Google said these updates are important “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.”
Travel trends and advisories. Google is showing “travel trends” and “travel advisory” notices in specific regions that people are searching for.
So if searchers are looking for a hotel in a location, Google will show the percentage of hotels with availability in that region and the percentage of flights that are operating to that destination.
Google said, “As restrictions and advisories begin to lift, we’re adding information about travel resuming in a specific destination on Google Search.” This data is based on Google Flights and Hotels data from the previous week., Google said.
Filter by cancellations. The update also allows people to search for hotels that offer free cancellation quickly, with filters in search.
Why we care. The travel industry has been hit very hard during the pandemic. These features might make traveling a bit less worrisome and attractive to consumers and regain business for hotels and airlines. Free cancellation policies are likely to become the norm as the industry looks to assure customers.
Hotel chains should make sure they are working with Google to pass along the free cancellations information and any other information that their customers care about today that they may not have cared about prior to the pandemic.