The word "Google" has become synonymous with general search. Google's travel initiatives – the flight and hotel metasearch platforms – are also picking up steam. As the number of users, referrals (traffic sent onwards to downstream sites) and conversion rates on referral traffic are all on the rise, the debate within our industry continues: Is the search powerhouse leveraging its dominant position at the top of the funnel to prioritize its own travel products over competitors?
This is not necessarily a cause-and-effect situation, but as Google's travel products gain momentum overall, their share of downstream traffic from the bigger Google funnel is clearly also rising. This is true for flights, and even more true for hotels. Google's hotel search platform now accounts for more than one in four hotel general search queries, rising nearly ten percentage points in just one year.
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Google is already the largest source of referral traffic for the biggest accommodation brands. Undoubtedly, Google's growth continues to pose a strategic risk to OTAs, metasearch sites and hotels alike.
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