Marketing 3 min read

How Google Hotels Could Sink Online Booking Sites

Google just launched Google Hotels, an optimized travel site that lets you find the best deal possible for your next trip. Sounds great, right? Not if you're a travel booking site.

With its massive SEO advantage and impressive algorithm, Google Hotels may be a massive disruptor in the travel industry. ¦ Pixabay

With its massive SEO advantage and impressive algorithm, Google Hotels may be a massive disruptor in the travel industry. ¦ Pixabay

Google silently launched its online booking site. While it’s a massive boost for the search engine, other online booking sites won’t like the change.

On July 1, 2010, Google announced its plan to acquire ITA for $700 million. Why was this acquisition crucial, you wonder?

At the time, ITA handled the reservation systems for several airlines and travel sites. So, the purchase was an indication of good things to come.

According to Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO at the time, the search engine giant wanted to create a unique online travel experience, which not only solves end user problems but also looks different from existing tools.

Within a year of the acquisition, those “unique online experiences” started launching.

It began with Google Flight – an online booking flight service – in 2011. Five years later, we saw Google Trips, with its Gmail integration.

Now the search engine giant has launched a new hotel search and booking site called Google Hotels

How Google Hotels Threatens Other Online Booking System

Google hotels offer all the features present in regular booking sites such as Kayak and Expedia, but with some unique benefits. For example, it integrates with Google Maps and Google Search.

As you may have guessed, the result is pretty high on the search engine result page.

Google’s vice president of product management for travel, Richard Holden wrote that the company’s well-known search functionality is one reason to use the new hotel booking site. Thanks to the machine learning technology, users can conveniently filter results to find hotel deals. Holden noted that:

“You can also view a hotel’s highlights—like a fancy pool, if it’s a luxury hotel, or if it’s popular with families—with expanded pages for photos and reviews curated with machine learning,”

With all that said, one question comes to mind: will Google Hotels drain the traffic of other online hotel booking sites?

Maybe – all evidence already points in that direction.

The travel industry is expected to spend over $9 billion on digital ads this year.

By launching Google Hotel, the search engine company is making a play for a more substantial portion of the windfall. And, since it also improves the consumer’s experience, it’s a win-win for all the parties involved — except other booking sites.

With the increase in online paid-search competition, getting a visible organic result is already challenging. Now hospitality brands have to spend more to have a chance at online visibility.

Read More: Google Makes Machine Learning Library Open Source

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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