|Is Google the New Hotel Booking Tool of the Future?|
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive - Views On The Latest Trends
Thursday, 1st May 2014
Exclusive Feature: Google is getting into the hotel business in more ways than one -
The search engine has been boldly moving into the travel booking business, and currently has its eyes set on the lucrative hotel business.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Google is adding more photos and reviews to its hotel listings, and touting its "hotel-price ads" so consumers can price compare in real-time.
The motive is that travel agencies and hotel operators will pay more for clicks on Google ads, thus encouraging hotels to place ads on Google, allowing consumers to bypass online travel agencies. Will it work?
One hotel group is already buying into Google's inventive techniques.
Starwood Hotels just announced the SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) app for Google Glass. The app is already available for use, and guests with Google Glass will get the sneak peak of the app when it comes out of Beta.
The hotel group said in a press statement that the app will be continuously updated based on user and guest feedback, but for now there appears to be a good amount of features including a search feature that allows you to search by voice for any Starwood hotel. You can even book once you find your preferred location.
Starwood's current room key program allows guests to use virtual keys to enter their hotel rooms, and word on the street is that this program will extend to a new Google Glass app.
Before you get to your hotel room, though, the SPG app will give you directions, share images of the hotel, see your points balance and even feed you information about your upcoming stay.
With all eyes on Google and its technological advances, it will be interesting to see how hotels utilize the mega-search engine going forward. One thing is for certain: it's bound to be cool.
Personally, I'd like to see hotel concierges start using Google Glass, giving guests a more "customized" tour of their destination. For now, we'll just see where technology takes us.
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com