Google and online travel, don't be evil?
The giant Google is arousing suspicion from all sides, particularly from stakeholders in the travel industry, with its recent acquisition last July of travel software ITA Software . The software is used by 80% of travel search and price comparison engines on the Internet. Is it simply a response to the acquisition of Bing Travel by Microsoft or a desire to become THE leader in online tourism?
UNITY IS STRENGTH, BUT AT WHAT COST?
A microsite, FairSearch.com , has even been created for Internet users to make them aware of Google's growing role in the online travel industry. This microsite was created by a strong alliance of major players in the industry: Expedia Inc., Kayak.com , Saber Holdings and Farelogix . FairSearch aims for an Internet of the future that will provide greater user choice and economic growth driven by competition, integrity and innovation in online research. Transparency and innovation are therefore the two key points claimed by this union.
DON’T BE EVIL?
Since its foundation, Google has had as its principle and code of conduct: Don't be evil . According to the principles of this golden rule of business, Google should make honest decisions that dissociate it from any form of cheating, evolving according to the strategic axis of departure.
Before drawing any big conclusions, let's think back to Google's mission , which establishes its very reason for being: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and usefull . Google would therefore not go in the opposite direction of its mission through the acquisition of ITA because it would facilitate the search for relevant online information for the user.
OTHER STRATEGIC ACQUISITIONS IN THE FIELD OF TRAVEL
Apart from the acquisition of ITA Software, other acquisitions have been made by Google in the field of travel. Quiksee , for example, was acquired by Google last September. It is a geolocated online video service allowing users to share their routes in video format: a golden opportunity for online tourism! Plannr and the visual travel guide Ruba.com were also acquired by Google.
SEARCH RESULTS AND PRICE COMPARISON
And what about the new layout of search results with Google Places and the integration of the price comparison tool into Google Maps for hoteliers? This puts even more importance on advertising with Google Adwords , as the ads are increasingly visible, to the detriment of organic search results.
IN ADDITION TO CURRENT GOOGLE TOOLS…
Google Shopping allows you to compare packages, hotel prices and other tourist services in the blink of an eye. Google City Tours is an online travel itinerary generator tool. Currently, the tool is very underdeveloped, but what if Google starts selling visibility to various attractions, hotels, etc.? Google Places + Google earth would make possible a virtual visit of the most famous tourist places! Google has also put its nose into mobile with Android, mobile being the mainstay of the evolution of online tourism.
Google is a must for a tourism business.
The moral of this story is don't put all your eggs in one basket: don't just invest in a website, but in marketing it. In search engine optimization on strategic keywords for your business. In the purchase of keywords for certain terms for which your company is positioned less well in terms of natural referencing. In the optimization in geolocation directories ( Google Places ). In the optimization of your social presence according to your business objectives and your target customers. Monitoring your online reputation. Your online presence, period.
What is your point of view regarding the acquisition of the ITA software by Google? Do you believe that this acquisition will make it possible to optimize the search for information for the user or do you rather believe that Google will take advantage of it to establish a solid presence as a key player in online travel?