Google is expanding its hotel business by taking its street view technology inside hotels in North America.
The first noticeable feature is high-resolution photos when searching for hotels. The photos are taken by photographers trained and certified by Google. The photographs are stitched together into 360-degree views using panoramic camera technology. Travelers can see the photos when they search for the hotel on Google Search, Google Maps, Google+, and Google Hotel Finder. They’ll be able to take the interactive tours on their computers, smartphones or tablets.
Best Western is one of the first hotel to rollout the photos and hope to have all of its 2,200 North American properties online by the end of the year.
“Photos are a critical component people rely on when researching hotels and ultimately deciding to book a hotel,” says David Pavelko, Travel Partnerships Director at Google. “To date, photo quality has been inconsistent and there hasn’t been any great innovation in this space.”
Many hotels have virtual tours available on their website, but always been inconsistent or buggy. However, Google is taking the same popular steer view technology inside these hotels. Users can walk around some of the room and move around by clicking on the arrows we are all used to using in Google Street View.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said it is also working with Google to get photos up of its 100 of its Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotels across the U.S. and Canada.
Google is also taking its Google Wallet to store payment information and loyalty program information. So far, Omni Hotels & Resorts and Marriott International are the only hotel companies to participate. Avis car rentals, Amtrak, Alaska Airlines and Orbitz are the others in the travel sphere to so far be offered through Google Wallet.