Google Wants to Help Plan Your Summer Vacation — and May Pay You If It Messes Up

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Couple taking a selfie while traveling
Ladanifer /

Last month, Google highlighted its efforts to make shopping simpler. Now, it wants you to know it’s doing the same for travel.

In a new blog post, the search engine highlighted updates to “the trip planning experience on Google,” focusing on three particular areas:

  • Google Flight price guarantees
  • Better hotel listings on mobile devices
  • Improved local attraction recommendations

Google Flights, the search engine’s answer to other popular flight comparison websites, is rolling out a new “pilot program” — their pun, not ours — that will display a special icon for fares that are unlikely to get any cheaper. Google is calling this a price guarantee badge, and it looks like a shield with a dollar sign on it.

It’s worth looking for this new icon because if you book through Google Flights and the fare does drop before you travel, Google says it will pay you the difference. The fine print says that the price drop has to be greater than $5 and that you can get up to $500 total back per year.

New hotel and attraction features added

The update to hotel browsing launched this week. On mobile devices, a search for hotels in the area will now include an option to explore properties in a “swipeable story format” — similar in style to Instagram stories — with photos, notes on what past guests think is important to know and details about the area that you can easily thumb through.

Searches for things to see or do in a city should also become more helpful, with prices included directly next to listings and a prominent link to book tickets. Google says it will also make suggestions for related tourist experiences.

You can see examples of these new features here.

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