Research Question: Will Google’s foray into the travel sector take share from OTAs and review websites such as TripAdvisor?
Companies: TripAdvisor (TRIP), Google (GOOG), Expedia (EXPE), & Priceline (PCLN)
Blueshift’s initial research indicates increasing competition in the online travel industry, with OTAs and TripAdvisor facing more challenges for market share.
- With its recent purchase of Frommer’s, Google is in the process of growing its travel business, which could come at the expense of TripAdvisor. Aiding in the company’s inroads in the travel sector is “Google Hotel Finder,” which is now displayed above Google’s organic search results, and, according to industry sources, “seems to be dominating among the newer meta-search sites.”
- To improve the experience for consumers and advertisers while also positively positioning the company long-term, TripAdvisor recently decided to reduce the amount of pop-up windows and provide more data and tools to advertisers. It also increased the bidding transparency for its OTAs. Furthermore, our August report revealed that TripAdvisor stands to gain a greater share of lower-tier OTA customer acquisition budgets if it can prove the ROI enhancements to customers with its quality improvements.
- According to industry specialists, online travel agencies such as Priceline and Expedia are increasingly encouraging their users to share their travel experiences and write reviews, which gets at the core of TripAdvisor’s model. This comes on the heels of questions about the authenticity of the reviews on TripAdvisor’s website.
To gain further insight into Google’s plans within the travel sector and the ramifications for current industry participants, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from sources in the following areas: OTAs, booking agents, industry specialists, hotels, and customers.