Google winding down B2B division at Frommers, travel sites need to find new content supplier
Whilst most of the attention was focused on what Google was going to do with all the destination content and guidebooks, dozens of travel brands and websites in other industry verticals (such as the media) were also wondering what was going to happen to their content partnership.
Frommer’s Unlimited provides licensed destination guides for desktops and mobile, event listings, images, cruise guides and hotel property descriptions to countless web brands, as well having a consultancy and customer publishing unit.
Six months on from the acquisition, and with still plenty of focus on the Google end of things, it turns out Frommer’s Unlimited is being scaled back as a unit.
The primary reason is that the acquisition was only a content play and the underlying technology for the B2B division was not included in the transaction and thererfore remained with Wiley, the previous owner which had spent at least six months trying to offload its travel interests.
This has left dozens of partner sites in a bit of a quandary as their contracts with Frommer’s Unlimited are not being renewed (some in April and the remainder by the end of the year) and they will therefore be without the destination information which many have used and valued as part of their SEO and online content strategy for years.
Although a question mark remains as to whether new owner Google will eventually pick up the baton and continue the B2B content services in the future, letting the existing contracts expire and the gradual realisation as to what Google is doing with destination information appears to suggest otherwise.
This, therefore, not only leaves dozens (between 55 and 60 clients this time last year) of websites needing a new supplier of travel content but an opportunity for Frommer’s-type providers to perhaps capitalise.
Obvious big-name candidates which could supply such content on a global scale to B2B partners include Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Fodors, with obviously a myriad of other, lower profile content brands such as ArrivalGuides and Columbus also probably keen to get in on the act.
NB: Google has consistently refused to comment on anything relating to its acquisition of Frommer’s or, in reference to our latest query, the B2B services.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.