Google announced plans to broaden both the amount of information it includes with listings and its overall hotel booking capabilities.
The world’s largest search engine launched hotel booking for mobile users in 2013 and added booking capabilities for desktop and tablet users earlier this year.
A Google search today still shows that a majority of hotel listings don’t offer instant booking, linking to online travel agencies instead, such as Booking.com and Hotwire.
Google also said it is adding information on hotel amenities such as swimming pools, parking availability and free WiFi. Google had already included more basic information such as price, availability and user reviews.
“With Book on Google, Google facilitates the booking payment transaction. The hotel partner owns the guest relationship, including sending the confirmation email, answering post-booking questions, and handling changes to the reservation or cancellations,” said Tom Mulders, senior program manager for Google’s travel division.
Industry watchers are keeping a close eye on Google because of its massive influence in search. Google receives about 240 million unique visitors a month, putting it ahead of Facebook and Yahoo, according to ComScore. After Google, the most popular travel site that can process hotel bookings is TripAdvisor, with about 70 million monthly visitors.
One possible outcome of Google’s improved booking capabilities is intense competition with other travel booking sites. With over 3.5 billion searches made on Google each day, a hotel search ending in a transaction without ever leaving Google will pose a serious threat to even top booking platforms.