Google’s Hotel Finder experiment has a superb innovation: drawing shapes of target areas.
The shapes tool is a refreshing change from the zip codes and pre-set neighborhoods of other services. In dense cities like New York, where a few blocks can make a huge difference in location desirability, these services struggle. To illustrate, let’s revisit yesterday’s post on hotels with a view in Jersey City, NJ.
A search on a popular site like Kayak for Hoboken jumbles Hoboken hotels with Manhattan hotels. The location refinement tool is a distance-based radius that at 1 mile excludes the Newport area hotels but at 2 miles scoops in a chunk of Manhattan.
Verdict: the hotel booking experts say Google Hotel Finder has a long way to go to graduate from experiment to robust tool, but already the shapes tool is a great aid in identifying preferred hotels, particularly in dense areas such as Manhattan, the Las Vegas strip or beaches. How many hotels in the world claim to be on a beach when the reality is somewhat different?
(Disclaimer: The Rapid Traveler uses many of Google’s services but has no financial relationship with Google, and will not receive any commission or other consideration for this review.)