So Google are reported to be letting user buys goods without leaving the site. HOLY COW!!! this is HUGE news, no?! I always thoughts message was to make the worlds information accessible to all. Has that changed? If Google do allow users to make purchases on site then this represents a material shift in strategy and realises the threat many businesses have long dreaded…..
Again, I will look at the travel space as that’s where I reside.
A few years ago Google purchased ITA. Take a look at the ITA site. They’ve been beavering away and now work with many travel businesses offering pricing, shopping and availability solutions. This is of course mainly for flights. Google also launched flight finder some time ago. It seems to me this is one very small step to allow users to purchase flights. What does this mean for the traditional GDS businesses? no question, this is bad, bad news and a material threat.
What about hotels? Google purchased Room77 some time ago. Its a good site and one can see an easy move for Google to take the search results and amend its own….Room77 are working with many of the huge players (Expedia, Booking, Otel, etc…) so they already have the stock, the search data, the demand patterns…..For anyone in the hotel META space or indeed an OTA, this is material news. Suppose Google encouraged hotels to sign up direct? nothing is off the table.
These though are single products. What about something less simple, say, a holiday. So, a flight, hotel and transfer somewhere?
This is much harder to combat for various reasons:
1. The data volume we’re talking about is huge, the combinations of what’s possible multiple many many times from a single product purchase strand.
2. Holidays are different, especially around Europe. People from different nations have different demands.
3. The aggregation process is harder. Price management is harder. Regulation is harder. Speed is harder.
Would Google really care about the ‘holiday market’? Maybe not immediately but suppose someone came along with a solution? suppose someone had aggregated all holiday content and knew more about handling holiday data than Google did then what?
Exclusivity and differentiation again become definitive factors and core anchors of offensive and defence strategic thinking.
I realise I am opening up more questions than I am answering but I am very surprised there hasn’t been more commentary in the travel trade press. Lets not forget, Google has an 89% share of search in the UK. These are fascinating times