More Details On Google Places Hotel Booking Feature

Details about Google Places Hotel booking feature, first widely seen in November, are starting to leak out. Google has been somewhat reticent to make meaningful public comments and provide significant details about it. This Places feature allows users to select a booking date, click through from the Places Page and immediately begin the booking process.

It was reported yesterday at, in an apparent press release, that Worldhotels was now offering the Google feature to its affiliate hotels:

Independent hotels can now post information including room rates on Google Maps and Google Places using Worldhotels.

The hotel group is the first of its kind to allow independent hotels to display their real time rates and availability on Google Maps and Places.

This pay-per-click ad model is connected with the groups booking engine. The first hotel to test the new pricing display option is the Worldhotels property Georgian Terrace in Atlanta, USA.

Worldhotels is a company that provides a marketing umbrella that allows independent hotels to maintain their uniqueness but take advantage of back room processes that benefit from scale like booking, rewards programs, negotiating better rates with online booking companies and now obviously, access to Google’s Pay Per Click hotel booking test.

Rather than give up between 25 and 50% of their booking fees to the online travel sites, independent hotels can join a group like Worldhotel for a very small percentage of each booking while additionally taking advantage of other programs like frequent visitor benefits that the affiliate organizer has to offer.

In the case of Google Places, the hotel noted in the press release, is offering a Petite Single Room for their discounted rate of $116 (the same room is $199 through their site) which is exactly the same as the Expedia/Travelocity price. The cost to the hotel is likely the 2% affiliate booking fee plus their AdWords cost vs the 15-25% that they would normally be paying to the online travel site. Thus they could be paying somewhere on the order of $4.50 for the booking versus $31 via the current system. This model, while still in its infancy, is likely to put pressure on the margins of the online travel booking sites.

Google has noted that they are also “exploring ways to allow individual hoteliers to easily share updated pricing / availability” which would mean that even hotels not in a franchise or otherwise affiliated would likewise be able to take advantage of the savings in such a system.

It will be interesting to discover how Google is pricing the pay per click ads in this model. What are the current costs of PPC for hotels in major markets?

Related posts:

  1. Google Places Hotel Booking Feature To Be Available to All …. Someday
  2. Google Places Upgrade: Reviews with Sentiments & Hotel Booking Tool
  3. What is The Real Reason that TripAdvisor Is Limiting Review Content To Places?

3D Travel launches

A few months ago, we showed you the click site, which is a wonderful resource if you’re planning a trip to the islands.

This morning, they’ve released and it’s a big improvement over the already-great 3DHawaii. The navigation is much more intuitive, and the entire site has a great flow to it.


In particular, the little “Location Navigator” bar at the bottom is vastly improved. It takes up less space, has more options, and is much easier to use. Here is a close-up of the bar when viewing the MGM Grand.


Some of the items on there:
• View Site: View a pop-up window with information about this location, including address, phone, photos, and a description.
• 3D Views: A very easy way to swoop and fly around the building to see it from all sides.
• 3D Tour: Essentially an automated click-through of the options in the “3D Views”.
• Videos and Photos: What you’d expect.
• Street View: Jump down to check it out in Google Street View.

I’ve yet to visit Las Vegas personally, but I’d like to get there someday with my wife. A site like this would be an excellent tool to help plan our trip. Congrats to the 3DTravel team for a job well done.

Go visit the site to try it for yourself, check out the video below, or read more about it in their press release at the end of this post.

Following the launch of earlier this year, 3D Travel, Inc. introduces, the newest addition to the first-ever collection of interactive 3d travel portals. Available collectively at, the sites incorporate Google Earth™ technology and are an innovative, experiential way to plan and book travel on the web.

Travelers who visit can explore the most comprehensive selection of hotels, resorts, casinos, restaurants, shopping centers, shows and visitor attractions available on the web, most in 3d, to help them plan their vacation or business trip to Las Vegas. After researching all the options, travelers can make reservations directly with featured properties.

“With the early success of, which launched in July, Las Vegas was a natural choice for our second site,” said Craig Carapelho, CEO of 3D Travel, Inc. “Las Vegas attracts a huge number of business and vacation travelers every year. offers an entirely new, immersive way of seeing what the city has to offer, allowing visitors to best design their Las Vegas experience. Plus, the city’s creative architecture and the vibrant skyline of the Strip look incredible in 3d.”

With the launch of comes upgraded technology. The new platform has multiple language capabilities, the user interface has been streamlined for easier navigation, street-view accuracy has been improved, and the overall speed of the site has been optimized. Other planned new features include an itinerary builder and a shopping cart, allowing travelers to save preferred hotels and activities while exploring the site.

MGM Resorts International is a client with ten major Las Vegas Strip resorts it operates, including world-famous resorts such as Bellagio, MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Mirage, presented as in-depth experiences.

For 3D Travel, Inc., is the second of a planned 10 new destination portals to be rolled out in 18 months. The upcoming sites will highlight domestic and international destinations.

Experience 3D Las Vegas
Travelers who want to plan their next vacation or business trip can utilize 3D Las Vegas in three easy steps: 1. Visit; 2. Install the Google Earth plug in; 3. Launch the site.

Participate in 3D Las Vegas
Companies interested in being listed on 3D Las Vegas have several options for inclusion. 3D Travel, Inc. works with businesses of all types, from small retail stores to five-star luxury resorts. 3D Travel, Inc. also offers businesses a free 30-day trial listing package that allows them to monitor results and determine if they want to upgrade to an expanded paid listing.

About 3D Travel, Inc.
3D Travel, Inc. specializes in the development of 3d interactive destination portals where people can explore, discover and book travel in content-rich, 3d, virtual environments. Through an exclusive web publishing agreement with one of the largest contributors of 3d buildings on Google Earth™, 3D Travel, Inc. has published hundreds of high-quality 3d buildings in key US travel markets to create virtual online destinations. These 3d models appear on Google Earth™, as well as on 3D Travel Inc.’s stand alone web portals via the Google Earth™ API Plug-In, providing the opportunity for participants to be cost-effectively marketed to the world. This next generation online travel planning experience signals the virtual evolution of web business interactions. For more information, visit

Infinite City: A ‘Fanciful’ Atlas of San Francisco

Book cover: Infinite City

San Francisco Public Press covers the launch of Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas. “The collection of fanciful maps of the city combines disparate but creatively juxtaposed items such as World War II shipyards and African-American political and musical landmarks,” says the article. “The book is part of a project started as a collaboration for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s 75th anniversary celebration. Author Rebecca Solnit worked with artists and mapmakers to issue six broadside copies of maps, with each release linked to live art events. The broadsides grew into this expanded compendium.”