Google Introduces Richer Flight Search Experience

google-flight-travel-featured Google is introducing a revamped flight and hotel travel search experience. To date both products have been mostly underwhelming. The big promises of Google's ITA acquisition have yet to bear fruit but that may change with the new Google Flight and travel search experience. Previously the best feature of Google Travel was Flight Explorer (immediately above), which allowed users to see pricing trends over time for desired destinations. It still exists but its features have been partly integrated into the new/main Flight Search site. The new more integrated travel experience, which off [...]

Hotel Search Upgrade: Google Licenses Room 77 Platform

Room 77 Despite its controversial $700 million acquisition of travel software company ITA several years ago and the launch of Google's Hotel Finder site, Google has yet to emerge as a force in online travel. That may all be about to change. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Google "is licensing hotel-booking software from Room 77 Inc." The news site also reported that "Room 77 co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Calvin Yang and many of its engineers are joining Google." Room 77 is a travel metasearch site like Kayak, only better in my experience. It only focuses on lodging however. The Bl [...]

Is Google Poaching Clicks From Travel Advertisers? Spend Trends Down Even As Advertisers Increase (Study)

On the cusp of the summer travel season, AdGooroo has taken a look at the state of paid search in the travel sector in the U.S. The company has found that, on the whole, paid search expenditures have been trending down since 2011. Spend fell 19% from January through April of this year compared to last year. That follows an 11% drop during the same period from 2012 to 2011. The downward trends hold through the summer months. AdGooroo suspects the decline in ad spend since 2011 is due in large part to the launches of Google Flight Search and Google Hotel Finder that year. The actual number o [...]

Google Adds Publisher Opt-Out Tool For Shopping, Flights, Hotels & Local Search

stop-signs-featured Don't want your content to be included in many of Google's vertical search services, such as Google Shopping or Google+ Local? Google's got a new tool for that, a result of its agreement earlier this year with the US Federal Trade Commission over anti-trust charges. Announced on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, the new tool is located within Google Webmaster Central and allows publishers to keep their content out of: Google Shopping Google+ Local Google Flights Google Hotels Google Advisor (financial product search) Oddly, several of these services only allow you to be inc [...]

Flights, Hotels: Google Is Improving Its Travel Search Tools

google-flight-travel-featured Following its acquisition of travel software provider ITA, Google's flight and hotel search products have offered isolated useful features but have largely failed to live up to Google's promise of "innovation." Consumers have mostly failed to notice Google's travel innovations so far as well. There are now indications that Google's travel sites and content are becoming more integrated into something more interesting and useful for travelers and not simply "me-too" products -- as they mostly have been to date. A Google blog post today provides a review of recent upgrades to Google Fligh [...]

Google Experimenting With “Promoted Hotels” Ads on Hotel Finder

intercontinentalHotelad Google is testing a new ad format on its Hotel Finder product that lets marketers bid to appear at the top of search results. Promoted Hotels ads are ranked based on a combination of bid and quality score, and are sold on a CPC basis. News of the experiment was first reported on Tnooz. The ads -- one or two per results page -- show at the top of search results with a shaded background, and have a small "Ad" indicator on the top right of the rectangle. The ad itself contains the same information as an organic result -- user ratings, the star rating (4-star, 3-star, etc.), the per-night price [...]

Google’s “Find Hotels By Travel Time” Offers Some Of That “Innovation” Google Was Talking About

Before Google was formally approved to buy travel software company ITA, the company argued that the acquisition would result in "innovation" for travelers and travel search users. Beyond the appearance of flight times/routes in search results we haven't seen much "innovation" yet. Google's new "find hotels by travel time" experiment is, however, an example of how Google might deliver new functionality and shake things up in the intensely competitive yet paradoxically complacent travel segment. There are travel verticals that will allow users to look for hotels near landmarks or filter by di [...]

Big Chains Launch “Hulu For Hotels”

Several major hotel chains have launched what might be described as "Hulu for hotels," a new travel search site called Roomkey. According to Tnooz, the consortium includes Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott and Wyndham Hotels. Starwood, operator of Sheraton and W hotels, is not among them. Hotels have been struggling for years to get consumers to come directly to them rather than various OTAs, middlemen and aggregators to whom they pay affiliate booking and lead fees. This is not the first such hotels joint venture effort. There have been several initiatives over t [...]

Bing’s Travel Search & Kayak Favoritism Angers No One, While Google’s Gets Headline Attention From WSJ

google-bing-travel-featured Bing's not-so-newest push into online travel hasn't begun to roil the industry, the latest example of where if Bing does something, no one cares, but if Google does it, it's time for a Wall Street Journal story examining the potential evilness of the move. In case you missed it, the Wall Street Journal has a story out about how Google's travel results -- added in September, rather than December as the story says, have upset (as you'd expect) rival travel search engines such as Kayak, Expedia and Orbitz. Bing: Pushing Travel Search Against Google Since 2009 You have to get midway down int [...]

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