Google's Hotel Moves Worry Travel Sector
Google already owns ITA software, a flight information provider, and has a hotel price ad program that routes consumers to hotel websites for booking.
In recent months, hotels have agreed to test Google products, and last month, Google reached a licensing agreement with a startup called Room 77 that lets guests compare hotel prices and book rooms.
While many analysts don't think Google is a big threat to online travel agencies in the immediate future, such agreements have sparked buzz about what it could eventually do in the travel sector.
Industry researchers don't believe Google is looking to get into the business of processing purchases done by online travel agencies, which are some of its biggest advertisers. They add the transaction business would require certain capabilities that would bring new overhead and fixed costs. But Google would like to court more travel advertising revenue, they said.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which includes the Radisson and Country Inns & Suites chains, announced a pilot program late last year allowing guests to search, shop and pay for hotel stays using Google Hotel Finder, Google Business Photos and Google Wallet payment applications.
The Best Western chain also signed up to have interactive photos appear in Google search results.
On its earnings conference call last month, Google said its travel efforts were meant to provide "more and more detailed information when people do searches" for hotel bookings or tickets.
PhoCusWright's Quinby said after its recent moves, Google is directly competing with hotel search companies like TripAdvisor inc, Priceline Group Inc Kayak.com and Expedia Inc's trivago.
Hospitality Net Editorial