When users search for a location and include the word “destinations”, the result contains several travel options. The GIF below shows the types of result for a “europe destinations” search.

Destinations_on_Google_2_030816.gif

Although aimed primarily at mobile users, the results are returned in a modified fashion for desktop users.

Google’s blog post on the roll-out describes how it draws on its “deep understanding” of flight and hotel data. On first glance, the new functionality does offer quite a few answers for the typical “where should I go on holiday?” question.

Despite this, the launch was met with a degree of scepticism with many wondering if it signalled Google’s move into the online travel agency (OTA) market and the “Book on Google” option didn’t help allay fears. While the travel company will own the booking, the sale will effectively be made as an affiliate through Google. Google rebuffed the claim with a spokesman stating: “We are not becoming an OTA, not now or in the future.”

What this does signal to website owners from all sectors is the need for making key transactional data available to Google as easily as possible. Keeping on top of this will facilitate participation in search results page functionality such as answer and knowledge boxes.

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