While hoteliers go about their distribution business during the busy season, Google has quietly rolled out a new instant booking interface. https://www.google.com/hotels The meta search giant has long been a hub for helping travelers find, research and book travel arrangements. Typically the user would be handed over to the hotel website or an OTA when it came time to make the booking. Now though, on select properties to start, google is offering a user interface (TripAdvisor anyone??) so the booker never has to leave Google.
While Google in the past, has had some challenges when they veer far from their search roots, but it would make sense that this could potentially be a successful strategy. Booking travel is all about simplicity and if you can research and book without ever leaving the Google UI, it was seem that would lead to higher conversion rates for hoteliers.
The only real risk on the Google side here is that they are now competing directly with some of their largest advertisers in Expedia and Priceline. It will be interesting to see how this plays out but if a direct booking hotel product from Google brings down the commission that hoteliers are paying to the large OTA’s, that is a good thing!
What do you as a hotelier think?