Photo (cc) by beltzner
Google is moving in on the territory of the best known travel websites and online travel agents.
“Destinations on Google” is a free service introduced this month. It combines the capabilities of Google’s search engine with data about flights and hotels — and optimizes the results for smartphone screens.
As Google notes in a company blog post about the new service:
Destinations integrates a deep understanding of all the places in the world with Google Flights and Hotel search, so you can see available flight and hotel prices instantly. So instead of jumping between a dozen links or tabs to get the information you need, you can sit back and scroll — and leave the heavy lifting to us.
To use the new service, just do a Google search for a destination — like a state, country or continent — and add the word “destination.” For example: Europe destination.
Specific features of Destinations on Google include:
- Use the “Flexible Dates” filter to refine your results by month, allowing you to see when prices are lowest within your specified time range across multiple destinations.
- Select any destination and tap the “Explore” tab for year-round weather, and information about when the destination is most crowded.
- Once you’ve selected a destination, tap “Plan a trip” for hotel and flight rates, including highs and lows for the next six months. Tap the pencil icon to customize results further with preferences like the number of stops, hotel class and number of travelers.
The Los Angeles Times recently reviewed Destinations on Google, commending it for spitting out “a lot of travel info with fabulous photos” in a smartphone-friendly format. The newspaper noted a few downsides, such as the inability to select multiple areas of interest.
Will you try Destinations on Google? Let us know what you think about the idea of smartphone-friendly travel planning by commenting below or on our Facebook page.