Travel with Google

Travellers can have at their fingertips a new app from Google – Google Trips, and they can plan their trips on the desktop now (as well as mobile) with Google Destinations.

See more, plan less – try Google Trips, Google Blog (Sep 19)

“Google Trips is a personalized tour guide in your pocket. Each trip contains key categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food & drink, and more, so you have everything you need at your fingertips.”

Google Destinations, Now for Desktop, Google Operating System (Sep 14)

“Search for a continent, a country or state you’d like to visit and the Knowledge Graph card has a “plan a trip” section which includes a travel guide, information about hotels and upcoming events”

Google travel tools for mobile user

Making travel arrangements on a mobile device just got easier through Google’s features to improve filtering of hotel searches, and new alerts for airfare.  These will be seen first in the US – then internationally.

Google offers new hotel search filters, deal labels and airline price tracking, Greg Sterling, (Jul 12)

Of interest: “Google has said that mobile visits to travel sites now represent 40 percent of total travel traffic. Responding to this shift in consumer behavior.”

Travel consolidation

Expedia snapped up Orbitz.

Now It’s Expedia Vs. Priceline As Orbitz Swallowed For $1.6 Billion by Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Feb 12)

It’s not clear whether there will be any sort of antitrust review in the wake of this announcement. But there will now effectively be two major companies controlling online travel in the US and much of the rest of the world: Expedia and Priceline, which owns Kayak among other travel brands.

Rove with TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor users will have new tools for keeping a travel journal through TripAdvisor’s acquisition of ZeTrip and the Rove app.

TripAdvisor Buys ZeTrip And Its Personal Travel Journal App Rove, Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch (Feb 2)

While TripAdvisor is not being very specific about how it might use Rove’s technology, the acquisition comes at an interesting time in mobile location-based services. Facebook last week launched a new feature for app users called “Place Tips”, which pushes friends’ tips and insights about locations that you are visiting. It’s a direct competitor to Yelp and Foursquare/Swarm, and comes at the same time that the latter has tapped into passive services itself, picking up users’ location information and pushing suggestions to you without them having to make any effort.

Expedia buys Travelocity

Expedia has extended its hold on travel by buying Travelocity from Sabre, Travelocity had, at one time been, an arch rival. Users won’t see a change since Expedia has been providing the front end.

Expedia buys booking site Travelocity for $280M in cash, Seattle Times (Jan 23)

Of interest:

  • Expedia owns
  • Priceline Group, another booking site, owns Priceline,, Kayak and OpenTable.
  • A couple of new services are airfare search Hipmunk and last-minute deal site HotelTonight

Travel Guidebook or the Web?

Seth Kugel, the Frugal Traveller at the New York Times, asked,  Are travel guidebooks still worth paying for?. This appeared in the Globe and Mail on June 24, 2014 but was in the NYTimes on December 29, 2013 as Planning a Trip: Guidebook vs the Web.

Sales of travel guides have dropped 45% since 2006 in the United States. Travellers, one presumes, are using the Internet for planning accommodations, restaurants, and places to see. Is this satisfactory?

Kugel mentions many good tools for finding a hotel room (The Hotel Guru), getting reviews, planning a trip (, and learning the history and culture ( But this all takes time – his point. Maybe there is too much choice, and user reviews could be wrong.

There was one very good argument for the book – “A guidebook means an extra pound or so in your bag. But it’s all in one place, doesn’t run out of batteries or go out of range or use international data and is unlikely to be ripped out of your hand by a thief.”

Searching for Place at Pinterest

Pinners at Pinterest don’t  just do food and fashions.  “There are now more than one billion travel Pins on Pinterest, more than 300 unique countries and territories are represented in the system, and more than four million Place Boards have been created by Pinners.”  Pinterest has added a search that will help us to quickly find those places.

Introducing a faster place search, Pinterest blog (Jun 13)

It starts with the all-purpose search box – enter the place name (Bruce Peninsula in the screenshot below). Pinterest can help you identify the country if needed.  You may also search on  a site in that place – such as city hall san francisco. Adjust the search options so that you are looking at 1) Boards, and 2) Place Boards.  Voila – the boards will give you the grand tour.

Searching for place at Pinterest

Place Boards at Pinterest about the Bruce Peninsula (in Ontario)

Bing and TripAdvisor

Great – use Bing for travel searches and get TripAdvisor content.

Bing Integrates TripAdvisor Tools, Content Into Search Results, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Nov 21)

Bing will now display TripAdvisor reviews and photos as well as TripAdvisor’s hotel price comparison tool in SERPs. TripAdvisor’s full content library including restaurants, hotels and attractions will reportedly be available to Bing.

For example, on my search for Palm Springs, Bing gives me:

  • wikipedia
  • tripadvisor with access to over 47,000 reviews

Google has:

  • – again
  • wikipedia
  • and in 7th spot tripadvisor

Good as the placement is in Bing, I will likely search tripadvisor directly.

Travel through Google Maps

New guide from MakeUseOf shows how to use Google Maps for travel: decide the itinerary, figure out where to stay, consider transit, and generally explore.

Be Your Own Travel Guide: 7 Tips To Travel Smarter With Google Maps by Ryan Dube, MakeUseOf  (Sept 26)

Google Maps provides solutions for all the issues you face when planning a major trip. In this article, I’m going to walk you through the ways you can use Google Maps to plan every aspect of your next big trip, starting with hotel reservations, all the way to predicting the weather, and planning out your transit routes. Once you’re done here, there will be no unfortunate surprises left to ruin your dream vacation.