Google: The new global OTA player

Google is becoming a big player in the travel industry more and more; moving from a “search engine” to a “search engine that will also be a travel company” (among many other companies) in the future. “Peakwork” is the name of their new project which may be revolutionising how we find and book our travels in the future.

Revolutionizing travel

According to Google Spokesperson Oliver Heckmann “the product is still in testing but will revolutionize the way we find and book our travels“. As usual, the superlatives made me curious. So what is Google going to do then?

Metasearcher

Google is becoming more and more involved in the content that is offered to its users. After a takeover of German Peakwork company, Google is now testing in Germany to offer package deals within the search results.

Data is pulled from companies such as Lufthansa Holidays and TUI but also smaller travel organisations are involved. Next, to this; dynamic packaging is already well underway and offered as a whole on the search platform.

This makes Google the next new meta-searcher when it comes to travel. An interesting move considering the saturation of the market. On the other hand; knowing the commissions that are paid out to travel publishers I do understand why they moved into this market.

Specialised and personalised results

For a big data company like Google, offering tailor-made and personalised results is essential. This is also an interesting development for their partners who can save tons of money on their own marketing efforts to reach their desired target audience.

However, with Googles’ power increasing again; how can travel suppliers and partners make sure they won’t become too dependant on Google? A big challenge for them is to increase and improve the attractiveness to book through their own platforms; for example by offering special “own website only” deals, offering more loyalty program points or giving away a free excursion when booking through own platform.

Alibaba joins too

Another very similar development was seen in China where e-commerce giant Alibaba signed a deal with Marriot/Starwood opening up their deals and rates for over 500 million Chinese potential customers. An interesting development that shows consolidation is coming and we might book our ticket with Google and our Hotel with Alibaba instead of using Skyscanner and Booking.com…..

What are your thoughts?

A company like Google that gets involved in the travel industry more a good or bad development for the market we operate in?

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About Ingmar Bruinsma

Ingmar Bruinsma is an entrepreneur in the travel industry. He also provides consultancy services in the field of marketing, business development to clients in travel & aviation. He blogs about topics in tourism, travel, aviation, digital marketing.


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