The online travel agency — Expedia, not Google, that is — brought together hoteliers and other suppliers at a recent partners conference in Las Vegas, and Scott Durchslag, Expedia Worldwide president, told attendees, “The single biggest thing we’ll be dealing with next year is the entrance of Google,” Â HotelNewsNow reports.
The publication’s editor, Jason Freed, picks up on Durchslag’s theme:
“Durchslag said Googleâ€™s paid-search model is the ‘biggest legal money-making scheme thatâ€™s been done in the history of capitalism.Â If you think your distribution costs have been high in the past, think about the next three years,’ he said. ‘(Search-engine marketing) is not free and all of us are competing with each other for those bids.’”
Expedia and others are prudent to focus on Google Hotel Finder because hotels are where the bulk of the money is — and Expedia will be paying boatloads of money to participate in Hotel Finder.
Just ask Expedia, Priceline, Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity and untold others about the importance of hotels to their businesses and the competitive angst they feel about Google’s involvement.
Google Hotel Finder, which mixes Google and Web reviews with booking links and ads from OTAs and the hotels themselves, is a lot further along in its development than the few-months-old Google Flight Search.
And, just think about the competitive buzz once Google inevitably links up the two products, although Google officials say such talk is premature.
Google Hotel Finder, like Google Flights, is lightning fast, but it, too, has a ways to go.
For example, if you just do a random search for hotels in Memphis, Tennessee, or Paris, France, you’ll see that the ad-driven booking links are far from comprehensive.
For example, while the booking ads for Embassy Suites Memphis come from Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline, Hotels.com and EmbassySuites.com, Â the River Inn of Harbor Town in Memphis only showed ads from Booking.com and RiverInnMemphis.com.
And there were plenty of other hotels in Memphis and Paris which only featured one or two ads and not much consumer choice.
Google will work hard to round out the product and Expedia and others will be looking on, and not impartially.
Expedia is banking on its new global tech platform and promising that it will increase hotel conversions, and as its partners’ conference in Â Las Vegas conveyed, Expedia hopes to enhance ties with frenemies among hoteliers, too.