Alternative to Booking: Google Maps

Alternative to Booking: Google Maps Did you know that Google Maps offers a free service that allows you to find all the hotels near your location or in the destinations you have chosen?

We’re used to using Google to search for everything. Often, however, you overlook the enormous potential of this free tool, limiting yourself to using it only for its essential functions and without exploiting all the tools available. When looking for a hotel, almost always, the first thing you do is go to Google typing search keys similar to these:
“Hotels in…” “Hotel near…”
“Luxury hotel in…” 99% of the time the result is a series of links to Booking.com or other websites like Expedia, Trivago, or similar.

Only at the bottom of the page, you find some hotels (if you don’t have to go to the second or third page) or other results that lead you back to websites where you can make a direct reservation in the hotel you have chosen.

However, it’s a pity that all these websites (which offer an impeccable and often unparalleled service) are a paid service. In the post “How (not) to use Booking to save” you will find all the necessary information (and some useful suggestions) to not pay (or minimize) these hidden costs.

Today, however, I want to talk to you about how to use Google Maps to find the best accommodation available for your trip or vacation and, in this case, you will decide whether to use websites like Booking or contact the structures directly to save on costs.

Using Google Maps as an Alternative to Booking

You are accustomed to using Google Maps as an alternative to the satellite navigator but perhaps you are not aware of all its functions and the immense power of its hidden functionalities. To use Google Maps as an alternative to Booking you need to:

open Google Maps and select the destination of your trip/vacation in the left column, under the directions, select: “nearby”

Alternative to Booking: Google Maps
  • then select “Hotels nearby”
Alternative to Booking: Google Maps
at this point, you will see all the hotels (and all types of accommodations) that Google Maps suggests: in green, you’ll see the rates of hotels offering deals, in blue all the rates of hotels without active promotions; finally, by using the slider, you can select your available budget and Google Maps will show you only the results of facilities that fit within the budget you have set.

Alternative to Booking: Google Maps

Using the filters (just like you do on Booking) you can further narrow down your search: for example, you can base it on reviews from previous guests or look for facilities near a place you intend to visit. Once you find a proposal that interests you, all you have to do is click on the price tag, and you will display the information page of the chosen facility.

Alternative to Booking: Google Maps
  • Once the information page is opened, you can:

    • Check availability and book
    • See all the alternative facility suggestions that Google Maps offers you based on your search parameters
    • Compare prices with the ads (for the same facility) that Google has found online. In this case, the hotel I chose costs €54.00 on the most convenient portals and is available at higher prices on all others. Google will also show you all the other ads that the hotel has posted on other portals in price order.
Alternative to Booking: Google Maps
You will see in black the rates higher than the offer you found on Google Maps and in green the rates that match the offer. This way, you can be truly sure of booking your accommodation at the best possible price. Further down, you will find the link to the hotel’s website and, if the facility has optimized its Google Business listing to the fullest, all the necessary contact information to directly reach out to the facility and avoid all intermediaries.

Alternative to Booking: Google Maps

I always recommend visiting the facility’s website before booking through intermediaries: if the entrepreneur is honest, you should find prices lower than those offered in the booking site circuit, which, as already mentioned, offer additional services and guarantees that, however, you have to pay for.

The matter is simple: if you avail yourself of the services of an intermediary like Booking, you certainly have many advantages, guarantees, and impeccable service, but all this comes at a cost.

If you don’t want to pay it (because you prefer direct contact with the facilities or because you are an experienced traveler who believes you can do without intermediaries), using the free functions provided by Google Maps is a great way to find what you are looking for and pay the right price.

Therefore, it’s very important for tourism industry entrepreneurs to take great care of their website (curating content and positioning) and their Google My Business Listing, which allows them to also appear on Google Maps.

Subsequently, reviews (on OTA portals but especially those written directly in the Google My Business listing) contribute to positioning in search results in the Google Maps suite.

Additionally, using Google Maps as an alternative to Booking offers other useful functionalities that you can combine to use this tool before, during, and after your travels. In the post I wrote some time ago about how to plan a travel itinerary using Google Maps, you will find numerous suggestions on how to use maps to create itineraries according to your preferences.

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This post is also available in: Italian

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