Google has been on a tear in recent weeks with the launch of Google Hotel Finder, the acquisition of restaurant review/guide Zagat and most recently the launch of Google Flights which, as the name spells out, is a flight search tool.
What does this acquisition spree mean for the travel industry, and who is paying close attention to these developments?
Bruno Perez, hotelier, revenue developer, and travel distribution expert from REVPAR GURU has some rather strong views on Google's growing impact (and influence) on the travel industry.Responds from Bruno Perez, VP of REVPARGURUWhy now? Google's plan to take over the online travel industry
Google is currently "king of the hill" with 91 percent of web users relying on Google to perform basic searches. With that level of brand loyalty, now is the opportune moment for it to enter the travel industry.
The creation of Google Hotel Finder allows it to expand into an industry that generated roughly $120 billion in revenues in 2010 while providing its users with innovation and easy to us travel tool. Google's other excursions into travel, Flight Search and the recent Zagat purchase, are making it a formidable player in the industry. Will Google Hotel Finder impact hotels' relationships with OTAs ?
Without being able to speak definitively I do believe that Hotel Finder will impact hotel's dealings with other OTAs, in a sense that they will begin to demand more innovation from OTAs. As it stands now Hotel Finder does not allow users to directly book on the site, instead redirecting them to an OTA advertiser.
However what it does is provide travelers with a dynamic mapping tool that allows them to see hotel's based on location and area popularity. In turn these spotlighted hotels get an increased visibility that is lacking on most OTAs. OTAs must adapt to changing models and behaviors, or they will fail. Reasoning behind the purchase of Zagat. Are other restaurant site acquisitions next?
Cuisine is a big part of the travel experience. People travel, stay in hotels and then indulge in a dining experience of some sort. It is only logical that Google would enter this phase of the market. They could also become a direct competitor of sites such as Open Table, for example.Google Flight Search leaves OTAs in the cold – intentional or early stages?
In my opinion, Google is creating a platform for OTAs to advertise. It wouldn't surprise me if after the beta test period Google throws a bone to the OTAs forming some sort of inclusion or partnership.Bruno Perez is a hotel veteran sales and marketing executive with 30 years of vast experience in the hospitality industry. Bruno is a graduate of France's Hotel School of Nice, where he obtained his Bachelor Degree in Hospitality Management, and trained at top French Riviera's resorts such as the Loews Hotel Monte Carlo, PLM Hotel Bandol, Frantel Hotel Toulon, La reserve de Beaulieu Resort, Thalazur Spa Hotel, and the Avoriaz Dromont hotel.Bruno was impressed with the tools developed by Jean Francois Mourier to create new sales using technology, mathematics and the internet. He not only embraced the innovative systems, but also assisted in adapting traditional sales practice and pricing challenges to new forms of electronic sales technology. Bruno is a proud member of SKAL, HSMAI, MPI and is fluent in French and English. http://revparguru.com