Google Adds COVID-19 Related Travel Planning Features in Search

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Even though the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, few destinations across the globe are now opening up travel. To help travellers plan properly in these uncertain times, Google has added a few tweaks to its search results, offering key information like hotels and flights availability. It also introduces a nifty sorting feature called ‘free cancellation’, letting users see hotel and vacation rentals with refundable options only. This feature could prove to be very useful during these uncertain times, when planning travel can be a taxing affair.

In a blog post, Google has detailed a few additions to its search results around travel. The tech giant is adding information regarding percentage of open hotels with availability and flights operating in a city or county. This percentage is calculated based on Google Flights and Hotels data from the previous week, and this feature is said to roll out starting next week. This essentially will give travellers an idea about whether hotels are now available to book in a particular region, and if flights have begun operations or not.

“When you visit and tap on a trip you’re planning, or search for hotels and things to do, you’ll now see trendlines for hotel and flight availability. Links to additional local resources, including the number of COVID-19 cases, are provided as well,” the search giant explains.

Because of the uncertainty around COVID-19, a ‘free cancellation’ option from hotels and stays could be one of most sought-after perquisites that travellers look for. For this purpose, Google is adding a ‘free cancellation’ filter to see properties that offer this incentive.

Google says that the hotel and flight availability percentage will roll out next week. We cannot see the ‘Free Cancellation’ filter in our search results either. In any case, both these new features would go live soon, and help travellers make safer and informed decisions about future travel.

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