What you need to know
- A new Google update will let users see hotel and flight capacity in cities they intend to travel to for vacation or otherwise.
- Google will also let users see which hotels offer fee-free cancelation when booking.
- Both moves are aimed at helping users make informed travel decisions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic comes under control in some parts of the world Google Search will now show you additional information about travel destinations.
"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," Google's Richard Holden, VP, Product Management, Travel, said.
Over the past few months, Google has updated Search, Maps,Travel, and adjacent tools to help educate users about how the pandemic may affect their journey. This move is another feature that helps in that area as people begin to travel and vacation again. It's also one that will encourage caution in some cases.
"If a user sees that a low percentage of flights are operating, they might reconsider traveling to that destination before searching further. Or, if a high percentage of hotels has availability, it's an indication that hotels have largely re-opened in that destination," a Google spokesperson told Android Central.
In another move that will help increase traveler confidence, Google will also start highlighting hotels that offer fee-free cancelation. While the pandemic is currently under some form of control, flare-ups may force some locations back into lockdown and make travel untenable as has already occurred in some parts of the United States and the United Kingdom. When searching for hotels in Google Travel, a user will be able to use a new "Free Cancellation" filter to screen for businesses offering this service.
As always, a traveler should always check the local health authority advice for their destinations even if they're relying on these new tools.