Google Hotels, which used to be Google Hotel Finder and sort of went quite a few years ago, is back. It now is a fully functional set of tools and system that you will find on Kayak, Expedia and Booking.com. But it has some advantages which are integration with Google Maps and Google search results. Even if the say that they don’t want to become an OTA or compete with them, this article by Search Engine asks, “will Google Hotels create a giant black hole that sucks all the direct traffic away from online hotel booking sites?”
Digital ad spending by the travel industry is projected to exceed $9 billion this year, according to several industry estimates. It’s a massive market.
Maybe it is part of a strategy to grab more advertising. The competition is already fierce with Digital ad spend by the travel industry estimated at $9 billion or more in 2019. Already hospitality brands have to buy Hotel Ads to be on top of search results even for thir own brand names.
It’s all in a state of flux and certainly the travel marketing is going to change.
It is natural for competitors to jockey and position themselves for the future. The industry is ripe for disruption and hotels are looking for alternatives to the very steep discounts they give OTAs in order to market in that channel. Airbnb is seen as a viable alternative with their possible buy of HotelTonight. But like Google Hotels there are PROS and CONS. Airbnb has created new competition for hotel with every homeowner now being a potential hospitality competitor. That does not sit well with the hospitality industry. Google Hotels being in able to now offer the full functionality as the online booking sites is a big worry to OTAs. Google for its part says they focus on proving the best result for the consumer. Certainly Google has that advantage as it holds big data and can deliver a personalized recommendation for travelers. But is that its business?
As TravelDailyNews says the Google initiative is long overdue as “Google has been dabbling in hotel bookings for a while. Moreover, since Google already has a flight booking site, what’s stopping them from launching the same service for hotels?” Kristine Mariano goes on to say “The newly launched full-fledged hotel booking site will let you determine whether you’re getting a deal for your chosen hotel and how that rate compares to nearby options with similar amenities.” You just click “Book a room” and it links to either hotel directly, or a third-party booking site, or there is an option to book right on Google. The “Deals” filter “uses machine learning to highlight hotels where one or more of our partners offer rates that are significantly lower than the usual price for that hotel or similar hotels nearby.”
Its’ really annoying Expedia, Hotels.com and Booking.com and they pay a pile of cash to Google for advertising. But does Google really care?
We will have to wait and see how it all unfolds.