When Google acquired ITA software we all thought it was going to be a big challenger to the OTA’s. Then Google launched Hotel finder, and we shuddered as to why the big giant is entering this space. And, what does this mean for hotel search?
Over the last two years we have seen the product improve and develop, but somehow, not how we were thinking it would unravel. A few days ago Google unveiled their new Google Maps product. It is still not open to the public and you have to request an invite. I got a response within a week and had a chance to play around with it.
More importantly, now when you look for directions to another city there is an option to look for flights.
In this video I go over the product and show you how it works and share some of my observations.
What does the future look like?
When I spent sometime looking around the product I started to see a little bit of what may happen in the future.
– You make an appointment in your calendar (on your Androids or Gmail) and Google gives you flight and hotel recommendations based on where you will and when you have a meeting.
-Google will know when you are leaving to catch a flight (they are already doing this through Google Now and reading your emails) and when you are going to be in a particular city.
-If Google ever decides to handle bookings for flights and hotels then they can tie their two separate products, and can make a trip booking option available from one interface. It could be from their direct search results or Google Now or maybe even right from your email calendar.
-Since now more and more search is happening when you are logged into a Google account they know exactly what you are looking for. They can also tie your habits to individuals devices, locations, travel patterns, recommendations into one big profile for you and create your personal map.
-Social layer: Google Plus is their social layer around all Google products. Your friends data will influence the recommendations you get. Of course, they will have personas built through all the data mining they do. They also know your friends search habits and will be able to predict their buying behaviour and now these could also be tied to a specific location that you are in or going to be in.
These are just some of the things that came to me in a few minutes I spent exploring the new Google Maps.
What do you think will be some of the future travel applications we will see?