Travelers Book With Google. But Do They Know How It Works?
- Mark Blutstein
Search engines are among the top types of websites travelers use when planning their trips, and Google is the most popular search engine. The search giant has made such an impact on consumer thinking that it's now a verb: when consumers search for something online, they "google it."
But Google is no longer just a search tool for travelers to use. Its Google Flights product and hotel integration with Google Maps enable travelers to search, compare prices and book a la metasearch. Nearly a third of U.S. meta shoppers and up to a quarter of European meta shoppers have used Google for a hotel booking. Google entering the metasearch space is an attractive proposition, as travelers no longer need to leave their Google home page to find prices and availability. Amid recent changes in the metasearch landscape (e.g., KAYAK's acquisition of Momondo, Skyscanner's sale to Ctrip for over $1 billion, and Trivago's successful IPO), consumers' use and understanding of Google's travel features may create even more shifts in this space.
For both air and hotel, Google uses a referral booking model; the transaction is completed on another site. However, over a third of U.S. and European metasearch hotel bookers describe their booking experience as if they booked on the same website they used to search. While Google does not facilitate the booking on its own platform, other metasearch sites do. Yet around four in 10 travelers who only booked with Google describe their booking as being on the same site. So who is the customer loyal to when they recall booking with Google? Travelers can use Google multiple times when planning travel for many different use cases beyond the booking, making it more recognizable than where the actual transaction was processed.
Learn more about travelers' use of metasearch with The Role of Metasearch in the U.S. Travel Market, just one of six pieces of the U.S. Traveler Technology Survey Seventh Edition Series.
Coming Soon: European Traveler Technology series of reports.
Metasearch Leaders on Stage
- Ctrip: Cindy Wang, Chief Financial Officer
- Expedia: Mark Okerstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer
- Google: Oliver Heckmann, Vice President, Travel and Shopping
- KAYAK: Steve Hafner, Co-Founder and CEO
- MakeMyTrip: Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO
- Priceline: Glenn Fogel, Chief Executive Officer and President
- TripAdvisor: Stephen Kaufer, President and CEO
- trivago: Johannes Thomas, Managing Director and Chief Revenue Officer
- View All Speakers
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