Hardcore business travelers are always looking for the best bargains, and there's certainly no shortage of travel sites looking to cash in on the demand for deals. Perhaps predictably, Google has joined the glut of online hotel search services with Google Hotel Finder.
At first blush, Google Hotel Finder doesn't look like much. Type in a city and it'll present a typically sparse looking list of results. The service's classic Google aesthetic keeps it easy to browse through the listings. What immediately stands out is the far-right column, which shows how a given hotel's rates compare to typical rates for the city, which is an interesting piece of statistical information that may or may not prove useful to a traveler, depending on how important other considerations, such as luxury amenities and service, may be to their overall choice.
While it's too early to get very excited about Google Hotel Finder, especially for someone who may be loyal to a given service already, Google's approach to price comparison and booking makes it worth a closer look. Click Book on a given hotel, and Hotel Finder will show you rates for Travelocity, Hotels.com, Expedia, and the hotels own site, so you can choose the service with the best deal. Price comparisons are by no means unique to Google Hotel Finder, but this is an especially clean, intuitive approach.
Is Hotel Finder right for you? I can't say. But it's certainly a strong offering out of the gate. At present, Google is treating this as an experimental product. Pre-beta, basically. So it'll almost certainly receive its fair share of tweaks and fixes in the months to come. In its current incarnation, it's less of a competitor to other travel sites than an aggregator of their listings.
For travel tips that will let you jet-set like a star, see Denny Arar's "How to Travel Like Tech Royalty."