With travel beginning to return in the U.S and Europe, Google has launched a set of new tools to help travellers get up-to-date COVID-safe information to help their planning.
With travel restrictions, rules and regulations changing by the minute, any kind of travel planning in COVID-19 is likely to be fraught with out of date and potentially vacay ruining information.
The outcome? People won’t travel as it’s too hard to find any kind of peace of mind that their trip will play out as planned.
To solve this growing problem, in the U.S and U.K initially, Google has introduced new booking features to its flight, hotel, and trip search tools to help sort through the shifting rules of travel during the pandemic.
After recognising that the impact of the pandemic can vary widely from country to country and state to state (Hello Australia), Google has begun to provide pandemic-specific information about flights, hotels and destinations for those looking to book travel in the U.S and U.K, with the tech giant saying new markets will be added in the coming weeks.
If you type Los Angeles into Google, along with the usual options, you’ll also get real-time data on the number of COVID-19 cases in that destination along with how many flights and hotels have resumed service.
As it stands, no other major travel provider currently displays this level of detail.
Game changer again Google.
Speaking about the new updates, Richard Holden, vice president of product management for Google’s travel arm says “The No. 1 question we are getting is: Can we travel safely at all? And we’ve tried to address that by including advisory updates in travel searches,”
“The next question is where? And when I do decide to emerge, what will be operational?” he says.
“As some countries around the world begin to reopen this summer, we’re seeing more searches for places to go on vacation. Because the impact of COVID-19 on destinations can vary, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest travel-related information for places you may want to visit.”
Google is already automatically supplying information on Covid-19 travel advisories or restrictions when people search for hotels, places and information on specific destinations via google.com/travel
“As restrictions and advisories begin to lift, we’re adding information about travel resuming in a specific destination on Google Search. In the next week, you’ll see the percentage of open hotels with availability and flights operating at the city or county level based on Google Flights and Hotels data from the previous week,” says Holden.
Other new features include links to additional local resources, including the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as trend lines for hotel and flight availability.
Google is also introducing a tool that will let users search for rooms or hotels that offer free cancellation policies.
“Due to the uncertainty around Covid-19, people often want flexibility when making travel plans,” Holden noted.
A useful tool for travel agents? You betcha.
Find out more: google.com/travel
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