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Google Killing Agoda And All The Hotel Booking Sites Soon?


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Have you seen this:

http://www.google.com/hotelfinder/ (Currently only an experiment, only US hotels for now)

Ouch! Is Google gonna take over the Hotel booking business??


It's a no brainer. Google owns the media real estate. It has access to most of the data. It will effect direct Google organic search, Adwords , Google Places, and affiliate systems by replacing Adsense in key verticals with meta search widgets.

Bye bye travel affiliate marketing via OTA's , hello affiliate marketing via Google. Over the next few months we'll see this strengthen and roll out. If Google can meta search , why would you need an OTA , especially with the integration with ITA Software.

Gradually, Google will introduce the chains to sell direct, bypassing OTA's. Maybe they can fast track it with buying a hotel travel switch company, such as Pegasus or one of the other direct channel management software systems. Rumours are rife on direct negotiations with US hotel chains providing supply as well. Again a no brainer.

Additionally, further down the track, when participation density has been achieved , expect business listing to be charged for as well. YELP was a huge business in most countries, and it now has a perfect place to reside. Imagine every hotel eventually paying for a place listing as well.

Replicate this across key verticals, and the next 5 years will see intermediaries replaced by Google, not just in travel , but in other areas too.

No suprises here as Google has been speaking with key business' for quite a while. Just wait for the next set of verticals.

Exiting times ahead. :P

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Yea, thankfully antitrust laws in NA and Europe will keep them hopping too.

The Big G could face a backlash too from consumers. Interesting times is for sure.

However, you already see Expedias getting into bed with Groupon, I am sure FB and others will follow suit if they havent already done so.

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There was so much press about the ITA merger and what they would do to air and it hasn't done much so far. The ITA matrix is useless, and I still think Google is scared of pissing off regualr advertisers.

The good news for hotels is that I think the OTA's with their strong hold on them will be forced to change and hotels will be able to offer better rates directly without the OTA hurting them. What irritates me is when an OTA charges a "deposit" for a room and in fact that is their commission upfront as the hotel has given them content on a nett nett basis. I'l go direct all of the time.

I wonder where they are getting all the data, is it from sites that geo placed hotels on their site ? or will hotels have to opt in and eventually pay and then the CPM kicks in, hotels are cheap and are not open to new ideas, there are 400K hotels globally and not more than 30% have an online booking facility so interesting times ahead. I saw an upstart a few weeks back who seems to have the best interest of the hotels in mind with direct booking and the hotel can load rates, I think hotels will embrace a third party who doesn't have an agenda to get them down the road with fees.

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Well this looks like just an aggregator, similar to but maybe not as good as TripAdvisor.

Currently really doesn't hold a candle to either the Agoda iPhone app (amazing - get it if you have an iPhone, it's brilliant) or my new favorite Hipmunk. Hipmunk seems to have gotten some funding because I see ads for them everywhere - they have this amazing heat map of hotel locations where at one glance you can see:

- Hotel prices

- Locations

- What are hotels near (shopping, restaurants, sights, 'vice')

The only issue with Hipmunk hotels is that there are not enough hotels in the list. Currently useless for BKK, for example.

BTW I am kind of happy to see Agoda so successful - the only difference between them and the old, tired booking sites is that Agoda has a very good website. The data behind it, the prices, etc are the same. Agoda wins because of a good user interface.

Recently used their iPhone app. It's very simple but it's still amazing - you click one button, and it shows you all hotels near you, sorted by distance and price.

Edited by nikster
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BTW I am kind of happy to see Agoda so successful - the only difference between them and the old, tired booking sites is that Agoda has a very good website. The data behind it, the prices, etc are the same. Agoda wins because of a good user interface.

I find Agoda deceptive. They state the fees / tax amount but they do not say that it is for each night (instead of total) - I only realized after the purchase. I don't see myself as a naive or gullible person but I feel this one was unethical.

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