Recently, we gave a shout-out to the travel app Hopper for its approach to providing small business travel warriors with the best time to purchase an airline ticket — advising you to wait and then, alerting you when the best purchase time arrives.
While not the exact same thing (Hopper is an app only), Google has unveiled an update to its Google Flights service that is similar to Hopper and other flight services with similar features. It predicts when flights are likely to increase in price. Google Flights also is supposed to help you find good hotel deals, as well. (Note: Hopper’s announcement was about new features that provide flight options based on comfort and efficiency of travel options.)
As part of its agreement with the U.S. Justice Department’s approval of the $700 million purchase of the travel industry database ITA, Google had to license the software to all travel websites for five years. This year marks the fifth year.
After selecting a specific flight on Google Flights, a notification may appear letting you know when the current fare is expected to expire and how much you can save if you book now. For example, the flight (below) to San Diego is likely to cost more in eight hours — and you would likely save $87 if you book before then.
If you’re looking at a certain route like New York to San Diego, but haven’t selected a specific flight yet, you may see a notification bar with multiple tips showing how to find the best price for this route. Tips can include things like recommendations for alternate airports or dates. You may also see a new tip telling you about an expected price jump based on historic prices for that route. When you tap on the card, you’ll see more details like how much the price is likely to increase and when.