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Internet search giant Google has launched a travel booking facility, by beta testing a tool that allows people to book hotels without leaving Google's platform.
The programme, in partnership with Sabre, currently offers travellers a small selection of hotels in North America. With this launch, travellers searching for a hotel on Google Search, Google Maps or Google + can select the property and rate they want, then book it once signed into their Google account (see screenshots below). Sabre says this will reduce the "abandonment rate" that is commonly seen when people switch sites to complete a transaction. Previously Google's hotel metasearch tool channelled all users onto hotel websites or OTAs.
Compared to the search engine’s current hotel ads cost-per-click model, Sabre customers participating in the new commission-based model only pay a fee to Google on confirmed bookings for their property. Sabre says that because it has already completed the necessary technology integration with Google, its hotel customers can participate in the programme without any investment or development.
After selecting the hotel and date on Google.com/hotels, if you select one of the hotels in the beta programme, you are taken through to a booking page but are informed you will be booking through Google.
After selecting the rooms you want you are then asked to sign in via your Google account. After this you are taken to a payment page where you confirm the booking – again this is all done through Google, you are not directed to the hotel’s own site.