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Google Search adds train reservations, eco-filters for hotel and air

Google is updating its travel tools to make it easier for travelers to identify and choose climate-friendly options when planning trips.

For the first time, travelers wishing to travel by train in Germany, Spain, Italy and Japan can shop directly in Google Search.

“Do you want to swap the car or the plane for a train? For some trips, taking the train may be the most sustainable option, but finding prices and times to get from A to B may require a few separate searches,” says Google VP of Travel Products, Richard Holden, in an announcement explaining the need for the new tools.

For Germany, Google has a direct partnership with Deutsche Bahn, the country’s national railway. For the other three countries, timetable and price data come from Travelfusion for reservations with Renfe in Spain, Trenitalia and Italo in Italy and Japan Rail.

The ticketing option is visible worldwide, but only for travel in and around these countries, with increased coverage over time through partnerships with train operators, aggregators and third-party booking sites. Google says a similar feature for bus tickets will be added in the near future.

Previously Google only showed train times – not prices or booking links – for train journeys, except in the UK where last fall it started an integration with Trainline only in Google Maps which shows train options and the ability to purchase with Google Pay.

Google is also updating its tools related to accommodations and flights.

Last fall, the search giant added an eco-certified badge to hotels that have met certain independent organizations’ sustainability standards, and a few weeks later added a carbon emissions estimate to the results on GoogleFlights.

Now, travelers can use a filter to limit the results displayed to only eco-certified in the case of hotels and only flights with emissions below the average for a similar trip.

Holden says the company is working with organizations such as the US Green Building Council and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to improve the accuracy of its hotel certification data.

“Over time, we want to ensure that the environmental impact of your travel options is always part of the equation. And while there’s still a long way to go on that journey, we believe these new tools bring us a little closer in that direction,” says Holden.

In August, Google came under fire for the accuracy of its flight emissions data. As a member of the Labor CoalitionGoogle helped develop the organization’s sustainability framework and is a technology provider to help other platforms display emissions data.

Sebnem Erzan, Head of Travel Sustainability and Global Partnerships at Google, participated in a panel discussion on industry sustainability efforts during a session at Phocuswright Europe. Watch the full discussion, which also includes Travalyst CEO Sally Davey, Booking.com responsible for sustainable development Danielle D’Silva and
Travel by the way founder and CEO Cat Jones, below.

Leaders’ Roundtable: Making Sustainability Sustainable – Phocuswright Europe 2022