There are all these nasty vicious rumours floating around that Google is getting into the travel business.
PEOPLE GET REAL… GOOGLE IS ALREADY THERE!!!
As good Google watchers know the formula is pretty simple. Offer consumer tools for free in the category then subsume the supply chain in that category. IE Troogle would be on point for Google. BUT consider this…
I have no current insider knowledge on the subject . However I do consider Google to have been pretty smart in Travel so far. They make BOATLOADS of money. An insider told me about a year ago how much and it is mind boggling. Profit margins that are unheard of and gross numbers which are simply staggering. In fact I nominated Jane Butler (head of Google Travel) as Industry person of the year. She certainly wields a hefty amount of influence.
Google is making fine amounts of money already and really doesn’t need to do this at least not yet.
So speculation time… what if they did create a Travel Search tool? Frankly we all know that Travel Product/Content/Technology all share one common attribute – they are very messy and defy simplification. This creates a challenge for Google should it want to. More importantly going into business against your customers will galvanize the entire industry to consider ways other than Google’s tool. We are on a collision course with a trend. Just taking the escalating price of key words (aka scarce internet real estate) this has already priced itself out of the reach of the common players and even the big spenders have a hard time with it. The consumer is also getting jaded with the practice of paid search. I see studies that show the effectiveness of paid keywords is diminishing.
Conclusion. I don’t think they are going to do it… not just yet. The technology is not there and the cost of delivery would be high to do it properly including the need for PEOPLE!!!! But should they do it… I would quietly dump any involvement in Meta Searches and the OTAs. Supply chain owners however would become very valuable. I just dont think Google is that stupid to do it now.