Google Hotel Finder Now Aggregates Indian OTAs; Great For Users, Not Great For OTAs!
This was on cards – Google’s hotel finder service, which allows users to search hotels across geographies has now started aggregating hotel data from Indian Online Travel agencies (OTAs).
Google’s search results are not only getting better, but they are now going beyond. For many specific verticals, they directly show important information on the top of the 1st page of SERPS (search engine result pages). They have already integrated various verticals like weather, flight information, movies and even major attractions in the city within their search results.
Try to find “ATMs in Mumbai” or “movies in Pune” or “Weather in Bangalore” in Google and you will see the information presented to you directly in the SERP, you will not need to visit any site for more information.
Now, with aggregation of Hotel data from OTA, a query like “Hotels in Pune”, will now present you with a table showing name of hotel, its star rating and even the price per night! See the screenshot below:
From a web user’s point of view, this is absolutely great as it saves time and effort to browse across various websites, as they get everything there and there itself.
Also, what really stands out with Google service is the fact that it is extremely fast and simple. A user can literally get all information about the hotel including photos, people reviews, rates etc without leaving Google.
While it is surely great for users, it may not be necessarily so for online travel agencies!
Why it is not great for OTA’s?
One has to understand that whatever Google does, their engine runs on advertising. While, the “hotels in Pune” search may show you rich info about hotels, this information comes from OTA’s that pay big money for Google Ads. Yes, they are not organic search results – They are mostly paid ones, with some exceptions. Here, read what Google says about these results:
In short, what is not happening is – majority of the search users who used to visit various OTA’s (which are in large numbers in India) based on organic search results are now directed toward “Google Hotel Finder”, which in turn brings lot more revenue to Google, and burn the pockets of OTA’s who want their data to be shown at the top of search pages.
The traffic which used to come free of cost earlier, will now cost them big bucks. What this also does is, OTA’s who have deep pockets will grow larger, while smaller ones who cannot afford “top position” will slowly die out!
What is your take?