With last-minute holidays on people’s minds (as well as current delays and disruption) Google has announced a new money-saving feature for Google Flights which shows users the cheapest time to book.
What Is Google Flights?
Google Flights, introduced back in 2011, is Google’s online flight booking search service which allows users to search for airline fares, book flights, and compare different flight and ticketing options. The service works by aggregating data from multiple airlines, booking agencies, and other online flight services and redirects customers to the airline’s website or a third-party booking site to complete the purchase.
Google says the new feature offers users an upgraded insight to help answer the question “Is it better to book now or wait for lower prices to come along?” As a supplement to Google Travel’s existing price tracking alerts and price guarantee option, the new feature can show users when prices have typically been lowest to book their chosen dates and destination (for searches with reliable trend data).
For example, the new insights feature can tell users that the cheapest time to book similar trips is usually two months before departure, and if they’re currently in that “sweet spot.” Also, for example, the new feature could show users that prices for a particular destination usually drop closer to take-off, which means users can see that that they could benefit by waiting before booking.
In short, the insights offered by the new feature could help Google Travel users save money and can make a decision with a greater sense of confidence, based on information they didn’t have before. This could also save users time in shopping around and hassle in deliberating.
Adds To The Other Money-Saving Features
The new money saving insights supplement the existing ones on Google Travel, including:
- The ‘Price Tracking’ feature, introduced in 2017, which enables users to set up tracking for flights on specific dates so they can be automatically notified if flight prices drop significantly. Also, users can set price tracking for “Any dates” to receive emails about deals anytime in the next three to six months.
- The ‘Price Guarantee’ badge feature, introduced in April this year, and part of a US pilot, which marks some flight results with a price guarantee badge, indicating that Google Travel is “especially confident” that the price shown won’t get any lower before departure. When users book a flight marked with the guarantee badge, Google Travel monitors the price every day before take-off, and if the price does go down, users are paid the difference via Google Pay.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Flight prices in the UK have increased a massive18 per cent (Kayak) from last year, partly due to rising oil prices, rising fuel import prices due to the war in Ukraine, rising maintenance costs and more, making it much more difficult to find cheap flights. Coupled with a cost of living crisis, this has made it more important than ever for consumers to shop around. However, people now have access to more price comparison services to help. For example, Google Travel has many flight comparison competitors in the UK, arguably better known than Google’s service, such as Expedia, TravelSupermarket, Opodo, Lastminute.com, Booking.com, Sky Scanner, Kayak, Cheapflights, and more. The existing price-related features and new price insight feature for Google Travel are, therefore, both likely to be helpful to consumers and companies offering lower flights as well as helping Google to compete in a busy market where Google has many strong competitors in different countries.
Insights like these are a way to add value and tie-in with the Google Travel’s existing advantages, e.g. a clean/easy interface, integration with its other services (the globally popular Google Maps app), speed, no booking fees and reliability, and give Google a leg-up. Google also has the advantage of having access to a lot of data about what travel customers are searching for and trends, and being major player in the AI world, so these new features (and likely more to come), can draw upon Google’s existing assets and strengths to keep Google Travel competitive.
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