Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rumour True! Google trialling meta-search in maps for hotels

Who knew that a BOOT rumour (admittedly one from a trusted source) could prove to be true. I wrote last week that I had a good but unsubstantiated story that Google was planning a launch of travel meta-search. Now we have confirmation that they are putting prices into the display of hotel results with priced links to booking engines. Not all users are seeing this functionality (in classic Google multi-variant testing) preventing me from giving you a screenshot of my own, but over at "eWeek Google Watch" you can see some screenshots of a "hotels in new york" search with prices and meta-search style functionality.

Kayak, Wego, Hotelscombined, Sprice and more - hold on to your algorithms this is going to be a bumpy ride!

More analysis over at Tnooz

PS - WOW I scored a TechCrunch link out of this


Carl Jackson said...

Agree it's going to get bumpy for the meta guys.
But did anyone really expect that the Google gorilla wouldn't have a go at a travel meta play?
Who better to do meta search than the meta gods?

Considering half the newer internet population really do think that Google is the internet seems like a logical place to go.

Tim, don’t you also see the time where we'll be putting city pairs and departure dates into Google’s search box and get very nice display of airfares, taken from Google’s ads, that that are entered/fed by the OTA's or airlines as CPC ads? When you click you will go directly into that purchase path of the OTA or Airline site.

Then the OTA or the airline is the advertiser and the destination (something Google often says they want for user experience purposes) rather than thin affiliates doing arbitrage with traffic.

There’ll still be the capacity for CPC ads for Kayak et-al on the page and Google will still get paid either way but suggest Google’s CPC revenue volume will go up as airlines and OTA's will be able to display a lot of very targeted ads for a huge amount of city pairs.

Nice work on the TCrnch Juice. :)

Tim Hughes said...

@Carl J - is true that there was some level of inevitability about Google entering meta-search. That said, I often wonder if the economics of investing in meta-search stack up for Google. Every engineer they have to put on travel meta-search is an engineer NOT working on the base algorithm or adwords optimisation. I wonder if they will get the same return on each engineer hour on travel meta vs normal search?

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