a hammock from a deck over a pool

Google Hotels: Price trackers, clever filters and more…

To put it lightly, Google Flights revolutionized flight searches in travel. Now, Hotels might do the same. You can quickly and easily set price alerts for any number of itineraries, destinations and cities with the tap of a button, letting all the hard work of search come right into your inbox without lifting a finger. Hopefully, saving you lots of money in the process.

Google Flights is quite easily my favorite way to search for the best flight deals, and we’ve got quite a good primer on how to make the most of Google Flights. But that only took care of the shorter part of travel – the flights. What about hotels?

Google Hotels is now bringing that same simplicity and brilliance to the other big part of travel. Here’s a look at what Google has rolled out, and how you can benefit from this new way of searching and booking not just “a” hotel, but the “right” hotel.

a pool with a building and a mountain in the background

Google Hotels Interface

Google Hotels now has its own sleek interface, at Google.com/hotels.

When you enter, it looks just like flights, which I’d argue is a great thing. Why? Because you can learn about the cheapest months to stay, discover which destinations fit your budget and also see how good the prices you’re seeing for your dates are, compared to other dates. Oh, and you can now set hotel price trackers too.

For covid-19, Google Hotels has also added a ‘free cancellation’ filter, to help people avoid reservations which will lock in their cash, even if they can’t travel.

Don’t know exactly where you want to go but have a budget and a dream?

One of the most underrated features of Google Flights was being able to search without a specific need or place in mind. Let’s say you have up to $150 per night, want a five star hotel, are dying to visit Asia and are willing to plan from there. You can do that with Google Hotels.

a map with a red arrow pointing to a hotel

By entering “Asia” and setting a price filter, you can see every city in Asia with five star options in your price range. Same works for any region in the world, or none set at all. You could previously do similar with Google Flights by setting a max price, a starting point and leaving the destination field blank. I absolutely love seeing this feature for hotels now too.

This also works for destination research…

People often ask me when the best time of year to visit any given city is. Let’s take New York City, where I was born. I have my own advice, but Google Hotels can give you more statistical evidence, like how busy it is compared to peak travel times, when the lowest hotel prices are by month and the average weather on each day.

a screenshot of a map

With one simple click, I’m seeing basically everything I want to know to create a perfect trip. For a destination you’re not entirely familiar with, this is a game changer.

Want to see how prices on your dates compare to other months, or even days?

Timing is everything in travel. Stay New Years Eve, pay 10x, stay New years day pay 1/10th. Long story short, a day or two of flexibility can make all the difference and if you do have the ability to move a trip in one direction or another, it pays to shop around.

a screenshot of a map

Google Hotels now shows how prices are for your dates, compared to standard prices for the month. It even tells you if dates a little to the left, or a little to the right are better. One feature that’s quite new and unique, is that it breaks the price “heat” index down by star category.

a screenshot of a map

Basically you can see a cool “green” if prices are low and a “red” for ultra high, and you can see for each star. This helps to know whether it’s better to pay up, or look down if there’s particular value in one category or another.

a red bathtub with flowers in it and a city view from a window

Track Hotel Prices With One Tap On Google Hotels

The best deals often go to those who put the most effort into finding them, but Google Hotels really evens the playing field. You can search for hotels in a given destination once, and tap the “track prices” icon to get notified whenever prices move in one direction or another.

a screenshot of a map

In just one day of searching, there were big moves with a variety of hotels, and if one of the deals happens to catch your fancy, you can then click to book it directly from the email Google popped into your inbox. It really doesn’t get any easier, and when you’re talking about potential savings in the $100 or $1000’s range, it’s certainly lucrative.

And there’s useful filters for power searching…

Pretty much everyone searching for a hotel has a budget in mind, and rather than making you click through pages of results, you can instantly customize yours on Google Hotels. That’s kinda handy. The dual price slider lets you set a minimum and maximum per night, but that’s just the beginning.

a screenshot of a map

Is doing cannonballs in the pool a necessity? Or perhaps a morning sweat session in the gym? You can add all sorts of filters for every lifestyle from “kid friendly” to “free parking” with just one tap using the amenities tab. Anything to save time or keep you from useless results is a good thing.

a telescope in a room with windows

Booking Hotels Through Google Hotels

One thing that’s pretty cool and happening much more frequently on Google Hotels is the ability to book directly from the interface, without having to click over to a third party. Lots of online travel agencies are now integrating their booking platforms, so that you can just enter your information on the same page, and Google sends it over.

a screenshot of a hotel

We’ve seen this a lot with Google Flights, where you see things like “Book with Virgin Atlantic on Google” as a booking option, so from a user standpoint, it’s great to see this for hotels too. Even better, if you have a Gmail account, most of your information can be pre-populated which saves even more time. Options which can be booked directly on the platform tend to be highlighted, or at the bottom of the booking options.

It’s great to see Google shaking up the hotel search game the way it has with flights. Online travel agencies have gotten away with clunky search and few good comparison options for too long, and with any hope, this will force others to compete. Happy searching…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. I’m not sure how this is any different than setting up your parameters on Priceline and running scenarios. I played with this for a bit and don’t see the “revolutionary” improvements this and other sites are wowed over. A heat map doesn’t save me money. Also, somewhere I read that you can list the full prices. Can’t find that feature, either.

    I know they have the data, so if they really wanted to blow the doors off, here’s the game-changer: pick a property, or properties, and have it build a daily price calendar, similar to Southwest’s website. I want to go to New Orleans and stay in one of these 10 properties, when can I go to save the most money?

  2. There is one MASSIVE problem with Google Hotels at present, which is that the rates seem to be incorrect most of the time. Google will show prices from third-party providers and obviouly the lowest price is the headline rate. When you go to book at that rate it’s rarely available and the actual cost can be four or five times as much – rendering Google Hotel actually pretty useless. This has happened to me a lot whilst trying to book hotels in Asia and more recently in Milan. I’d say 4/5 of the time, the advertised rates aren’t actually avilable and on one occasion, a third party provider sent me a booking confirmation and then cancelled the reservation some 48 hours later, after I had booked flights. Google needs to vet its providers properly, or have realtime linking to hotel availability and pricing. Google Hotels could be excellent, but it’s just a big time-wasting tease at the moment.

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