Google has begun testing a new package-holidays product after teaming up with technology companies Distribute Travel in the UK and Peakwork in Germany.

The new vertical search category has been available to a proportion of Google users since the beginning of the year.

Travel Weekly sister publication Travolution revealed last September that Google had set its sights on packages, a sector that remains particularly resilient in Europe’s biggest travel markets, the UK and Germany.

Richard Holden, Google vice-president for product management, admitted at the time that package holidays were not something the search giant “understood well”.

He said: “There is certainly a consumer desire [for packages] and there are a lot of decision-making challenges.

“We can play a big role in the distribution of packages that already exist and create a better dynamic packaging market.

“There is not great comparison shopping out there in the package holiday space.”

Ruairidh Roberts, travel industry head at Google, told a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast in London at the end of March that the new package product offers the ability to search for combined flight-and-hotel deals.

Google is displaying the package comparison product in response to a proportion of mobile queries and looking to include pre-packaged holiday deals in future.

Distribute Travel provides live pricing and holiday availability data as well as personalisation and targeting services.

It claims to have handled almost 19 million API requests over a recent 28-day period.

The company’s technology is integrated with some of the major players in the UK mainstream holiday sector, including Tui-owned tour operator Thomson and online travel agents (OTAs) On The Beach and Teletext Holidays.

A Distribute Travel spokesman said: “Historically, there has not been much innovation in presenting package deals to customers. Finding relevant, good deals can be a minefield.

“A stumbling block has been the limited number of suppliers able to make their data available at the capacity needed.

“Distribute Travel is working with Google to help OTAs and tour operators deliver pricing into the new search and handle the peaks in load.

“Our technology works with source data or collects live pricing direct from suppliers’ websites without scraping.

“The Distribute platform contains billions of pricing records with the flexibility to offer services that deliver highly personalised deals and package prices.”