Google has entered the vacation rental market, setting the stage for a potential rivalry with Airbnb. But is Google aiming to dominate the world, or simply make life easier for everyone?
Google has just revealed its strategy in the vacation rental industry by introducing comprehensive price comparisons in its travel search results for short-term and vacation rentals. And when they say “comparisons,” they mean a thorough evaluation.
Travelers looking for accommodations can now compare prices from various travel websites, including Evolve, Whimsy, RedAwning, Vio, BringFido, and others.
This feature offers travelers a complete view of available options, not limited to a single platform. Much like a typical Google search, the properties displayed in the results are those listed with online travel agencies or metasearch sites like Trivago or TripAdvisor, integrated with Google.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Google provides a concise, basic overview of each property’s features. For more detailed results, they can specify it in the search.
- Even without Airbnb, the vacation rental companies and owners still impose fees, such as cleaning fees and service fees. This is beyond Google’s control.
- Google doesn’t guarantee the quality of vacation rentals, as it can vary between hosts.
- Unlike Airbnb, which has everything in one place, Google’s version directs users to the property’s site to complete their booking, like with other travel searches.
However, there are two notable exceptions: Airbnb and Vrbo. Airbnb’s absence could be down to its historical reluctance to share its inventory with Google. As for Vrbo, it has been somewhat excluded since Expedia Group withdrew its properties from Google in 2021.
So, does Google’s offering meet expectations? According to the company, user feedback from testing has been positive, particularly regarding the wide range of pricing options and the diversity of booking sites.
“Our hope is that price comparison will help travelers save money, book with confidence, and make travel planning just a little bit easier,” Google said when announcing the new feature.