Earlier this year came the launch of a new Google Maps feature which aggregates real-time hotel rates – courtesy of various booking sites such as Expedia.com and Hotels.com – and displays them alongside the hotel results. This addition to the listings, in which average price and availability are now available as well as customer reviews and location, has received mixed reviews from industry experts.
While some view the development as a hindrance to hotels through the pre-eminent positioning afforded to Online Travel Agency (OTAs) booking options, independent city centre hotels brand Mint Hotel.com has not been phased by the latest addition to Google Maps. A spokesperson from the hotel company said:
“Although there is a risk of losing out to some of the listed OTAs, this does not have a huge impact on the hotel itself. In fact, for Mint Hotel, customers will always receive a better deal when dealing with the hotel directly.”
The average price is situated next to a drop down menu within which users can access a list of various sites on which the particular hotel room can be booked, and at what price. The idea was initially introduced to online travel agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Priceline, whose respective rates are now available in real-time alongside hotel results.