Google apparently plans to add a brand new feature for its hotel search tools which is aimed at helping vacationers find alternative lodging options. The feature itself consists of a new filter option, which has been added to the search tools intended to help users get a general price comparison of hotels. To access it, users simply need to click on the "accommodation type" filter option and click vacation rentals. Although the test is live, it appears to be happening in specific markets. As such, it may not be available everywhere and accessing the new feature requires a visit to the specific search site for a given country - such as google.fr for France.
As of this writing, sources have found hundreds of vacation rental listings across a large swath of Europe. Moreover, those listings are found under a subcategory of search all their own. Rentals have been listed in Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Madrid, Munich, and a number of other countries in Europe. While it is blatantly obvious that the search and mobile giant has a long way to go before it hits a level on par with services like Airbnb. In Paris, for example, only 420 vacation rental listings were reportedly seen compared to the 50,000 or more options available from Airbnb. With that said, vacation rentals options could still ultimately be hugely popular and convenient since it places more options into the Google ecosystem itself. That means consumers won't have to spend extra time navigating extra sites or service providers when they are already planning their trips using Google's search engine.
The new search feature is really just one of many that Google has been bringing to its various services and is likely linked to the company's desire to encompass everything conveniently within its Search tools. The feature could also be easily incorporated from there into the company's other services, which have continued to see massive improvements over the past several months - such as Google Maps or Google Assistant. Of course, some of that incorporation may still be off in the distant future or could never happen at all, despite how beneficial or popular they have the potential to be. It is also important to remember that, at least for now, the feature is still in testing and could itself end up being dropped by the search giant.