Goggle has now taken to testing direct hotel booking from the search interface itself. Users may not have to leave the desktop that hosts google to make a quick booking. Though the meta search for the Google assisted booking have not been announced yet, the testing to allow users to pay directly to Google rather than third party is in full force. Previously the meta search through Search and Maps for hotel bookings were handed to hotel websites or online travel agencies. The user would then complete the transaction on the redirected sites. However, the new move is slated to garner huge change in the way bookings are done as well the conversion rate.
However the downside it carries for middlemen is significant as well. Travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline group and the likes are responsible for over 5% income of advertising for Google.. The booking strategy is more like the TripAdvisor which facilitates meta search by keeping them on the search page itself. However Google faces a challenge in that it needs hotels and hotel chains to participate the booking tool, a challenge similar to what TripAdvisor faces.Though the move is seen as a convenient step for users, it is being hailed as controversial since it makes Google an online travel service rather than the means for hospitality companies to market their services.
The online booking of a few hotels has already undergone change in that the book option which previously took users to the hotel page redirects users to a Google booking page. Once the rooms are selected, the user needs to relay the contact information to Google and payment details to complete the booking.
However, the channels through which Google is going about its interactions with the hotel booking system is not clear. A few hospitality software solutions that are popularly used by thousands of hotels may be partnering with Google. How one company, Sabre that offers hospitality solutions to 20,000 hotels revealed that it was beta testing a commission based model for hotels to receive bookings through organic search.If Sabre does decided to market the new instant booking feature from Google, the search giant could benefit from its large base of hotels.
Google started testing its instant booking through mobile. The transactions on Google have been available for a couple of years now. However it required the usage of Google Wallet and it was available for only a few hotels then. It remains to be seen how Google markets it, through whom and what change it brings to the online direct booking industry. The search giant has a lot of technical work on its hands if it decided to integrate smaller hospitality businesses. Though the service is bound to have a fee down the line, the hotel industry stands to gain with the higher conversion rates and improved user experience expected from this easy booking service. It may be early to say the kind of model Google will be using but one thing is clear, it is a revolutionary change in direct booking services.