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Earlier this month, Google released new flight and hotel search features, and now it’s adding vacation rentals to the mix. Starting on Wednesday, you can go to Google’s Hotel Search on a mobile device and find vacation rentals alongside your favorite points and boutique properties. The experience will expand to desktop searches in the next few months.
Unlike Airbnb, Google is focused on entire unit rentals (think: whole homes, apartments, villas), so searches won’t show rooms for rent within larger apartments or homes. Just search for the destination and dates you want to travel, and select the vacation rentals filter. From there, you can further narrow down your results by sorting for specific amenities (free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, kid-friendly spaces, swimming pool — you get the idea). You can also specify a price range, check guest ratings and browse photos.
The results will be pulled from inventory available on Google’s partners, including Expedia, HomeAway, Hotels.com, RedAwning, TripAdvisor and VRBO. When you’re ready to book, click the link that will bring you to the partner’s page to complete the transaction.
Though an official vacation rental tool may be news, Google actually began including select vacation rentals in its search results in 2017 as a way to test the feature on a small scale with limited inventory in select markets. Now, vacation rentals will be available worldwide, so whether you’re looking for a pied-à-terre in Paris or a sprawling villa in Tuscany, you’ll be able to get results.
The announcement comes at an interesting time, as Airbnb recently announced its acquisition of last-minute booking app HotelTonight, which represents an effort to diversify its offerings. Could Google be trying to edge out Airbnb?
“We can’t comment on specific players or partners. Today, we are just getting started with expanding our vacation rental inventory, and you will continue to see us add new partners to the program as we move forward,” Jennifer Rodstrom, Google’s communications manager, commerce, told TPG, adding, “We are open to working with all types of vacation rental providers for this experience.”
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