Google is getting into the vacation rental business

The tech company is revamping its travel booking features
March 30, 2019 02:00PM

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai. The company is launching a new vacation rentals platform (Credit: Getty, iStock)

On the heels of launching its new hotel booking platform, Google is adding new vacation rental offerings to the business.

Users now have the option to book entire lodgings — like apartments, cabins and villas — instead of individual rooms, Skift reported. The feature is available globally for mobile users and will expand to the desktop platform in several months.

“Our goal is to provide the best possible search experience for users looking for a place to stay,” said Jennifer Rodstrom, a Google spokesperson. “Increasingly, we see that users are interested in alternative accommodations when traveling.”

Google’s partners include booking sites like Expedia, HomeAway, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, RedAwning and VRBO. Users can filter their searches, browse reviews and see rates and availability. While it’s not the first time Google has offered vacation rentals, the rollout is much more widespread than in the past, the report said. The company piloted the idea in 2017 with a limited number of rentals in select markets.

While Airbnb isn’t currently part of the platform, that could change. Airbnb’s variety of accommodation types, which includes individual rooms, may be a factor, the report said. The company has also faced legal trouble in various markets, but HomeAway hasn’t been immune to that either.

The expansion is part of the Google’s parent company Alphabet’s effort to create a one-stop portal for travel booking. Its hotel platform now includes comparison shopping and facilitates some bookings on Google without having to leave the site.

“We hope this helps travelers make fast, effortless decisions — and with more choices on where to stay, your perfect vacation is just a few clicks away,” said Pratip Banerji, Google’s travel project manager. [Skift] — Meenal Vamburkar