Search is what Google does best. You can see this in their latest experiment, the Hotel Finder. Type in the city and the dates of your arrival and you’re presented with an easy-to-read, organized list of potential hotels.
Each line item is easily expanded with one click, giving you a slick overview of the property. Click the photos to get a larger slide show, click anywhere else to close the detail panel. It’s the fastest way to check out a long list of hotels without ever leaving the page.
Any hotel can be added to a shortlist with one click, for secondary comparison. You can also drag the box on the map view in order to refine the areas covered.
Google’s Hotel Finder is so basic, it’s brilliant. With options to search by price, hotel class and rating, it’s easy to hone in on hotels that suit your style and budget. The only perplexing piece of data is the “compared to typical” column. This compares the current room price to the average price over the year for that hotel, not to hotel prices overall in the area. I’m not sure how this data helps.
After playing around in the Hotel Finder, I began to think about other categories that would work. Restaurant Finder would be a natural. Looking back on my own search experience this week, I could have used Event Finder combined with Tourist Attraction Finder. That would be an excellent tool for not only those visiting a new area, but for people looking for something new in their own home town.
From a marketing perspective, Google’s Hotel Finder has the ability to make or break you. Excellent, enticing photos make all the difference, as does good reviews since they are prominently displayed on the summary panel.
The big takeaway from the Google Hotel Finder experiment is that hotel prices in Los Angeles are insane! I need to find a new place to vacation.