Google simplifies travel search, leads for partners with new all-in-one mobile upgrade

google new nav bar.png

Google is adding new features to its travel search functions to add ease and speed for mobile users.

A new navigation bar is a rolling out in the United States starting today and globally in the coming months that will make the most common search elements accessible from one screen.

Users can click between searching for flights and hotels without having to re-enter dates and destinations. In the same navigation bar, they can explore destination details with photos and click "Your Trips" to view upcoming and past reservations from Gmail.

“One of the things we keep finding when we look at user behavior and when we talk to travelers is that they bounce around from task to task, and we weren’t really making that very easy for people,” says Eric Zimmerman, director of travel product management at Google

“And it was particularly annoying on mobile because you had to keep going to the Google search box to start over and type and tap, and that's just very tedious.”

Zimmerman says Google also realizes many people “come to Google with a pretty vague idea of where they want to go.” To make it easy for them to find inspiration, a new “More Destinations” option pulls in ideas through algorithms that curate options based on the user’s location, past behavior and popular themes such as sunny destinations or national parks.

While the navigation bar is creating a bridge between existing products, Google is also rolling out new functions for hotel search in the coming weeks.

Along with making the experience faster, Google has added more content and filters. Travelers can narrow hotel results based on price or star rating. They can also see photos and reviews from around the web.

Google is also adding photos and details about amenities and pricing for specific room types within a hotel, so users can easily compare options.

When they are ready to book, the interface provides direct links to participating partners including suppliers and online travel agencies.

“We are user-first, but we see it as very good for our travel partners,” says a Google spokesperson.

“People start a lot of their travel journey on Google, so if we make it easier for people to find their hotel, to book their flight, we are driving more qualified leads to our partners.”