For the first time, Google users can complete a hotel room booking without ever leaving the search engines desktop interface a move that follows TripAdvisor’s introduction of Trip Connect Instant Booking.
The addition of this assisted booking to Google.com/hotels,their metasearch tool,hasn’t been officially announced but was introduced quietly as we can see the Google-facilitated bookings slowly being rolled out across a select handful of listings on U.S. desktop searches.
The new strategy of keeping users on the very familiar desktop interface with its recognisable and easy to navigate user experience may lead to increased conversions for featured hotels.
Thisstrategyhoweverisrunning in conflict to its business of helping middlemen online travel agencies get bookings. Expedia Inc and Priceline Group contribute to about 5% of Google advertising income, by some estimates.
Thismovesseemsto shadow the approach of TripAdvisor who, for about a year have been rolling out Instant Booking, in which it facilitates metasearch transactions to keep users within its interface.
Google will face a similar challenge to the one facing TripAdvisor in getting hotels and hotel chains to sign up and participate in its instant booking tool.
As of now none of the major US hotel chains appears to be participating in Google’s scheme so far — with only independents appearing in searches. This is an issue TripAdvisor has encountered with only Marriott, Choice and Accor signing up so far.
Extensive research has been done byTnooz looking into this new instant booking strategy and looks at Google as an OTA -Read More
According to Nicolas Ward, president of a Koddi, a Dallas startup that helps hotels maximize the Google hotel distribution channel, said in an interview: “There have been full-on-Google transactions on mobile for a couple of years through Wallet, though their exposure has been pretty limited. It wasn’t until April this year that we saw a fully-on-Google transaction interface for desktop users."
Ward was the first to notice Google’s new interface and write about it today on the Koddi Hotel Price Ads blog.
As this strategy is only being rolled out across the US at present it will be interesting to see how OTA's react and also if Google will be able to overcome the struggles that faced Tripadvisor.
Stay tuned for further updates on Google's Instant Booking Strategy.