Today Google Labs posted news that it was playing around with showing hotel prices on Google Maps. From the post:
Google Maps is often one of the first stops travelers make to find and compare hotels. Today we started experimenting with a new feature, visible to a small portion of users, to help make that process even easier by showing specific prices for selected hotel listings.
With this feature, when you search for hotels on Google Maps you’ll be able to enter the dates you plan to stay and see real prices on selected listings.
I can imagine any number of reasons why Google might be “experimenting” with this. As anyone who uses Google knows, hotel listing spam – well OK, not spam, but arbitrage and gaming – is pretty out of control in the main Google listings. Going direct to the hotels and brokers themselves to get pricing data cuts out all that organic result spam, and could create a better experience for Google searchers. Of course, if not done right, it could freak out one of Google’s largest category of AdWords advertisers, the travel industry.
I wonder how they are feeling today upon hearing this news? I have some emails out to find out.