Recent partnerships struck by Google with hotel chains have raised concern among others in the travel industry that the search giant is trying to nab more advertising dollars.
“To the extent that the travel industry is spending advertising dollars with Priceline or Expedia or TripAdvisor, Google is well aware of that and they’d like to steal some of that,” said Douglas Quinby, vice president of research at PhoCusWright, a travel industry research firm.
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 threat to online travel agencies in the immediate future, such have sparked buzz what about what it could eventually do in the travel sector.
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 Wester chain also signed up to have interactive photos appear in Google search results.
While Google’s moves could put some ad revenue from online travel agencies at risk, Quinby said the online agencies won’t cut ties with company. As they said that Google is just a huge source of traffic, and it’s not like some of the big online travel companies are suddenly going to stop advertising on Google.
Henry Harteveldt, an industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group said that, Google was a threat because its search capabilities enable it to collect data on consumer interests and habits that could make it a more compelling business partner than an online agency for destination marketers, airlines, cruise companies, and other travel sellers.