Zagat Take Two: Google To Acquire Frommer’s Travel Guides

Publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. is selling the Frommer’s brand, publications and content to Google. Terms were not disclosed.

Frommer’s is the publisher of the venerable travel guide, website and related content. Frommer’s was founded by Arthur Frommer in the 1950s and became popular because of its budget travel guides.

According to the press release:

On August 10, 2012, Wiley entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of its travel assets, including all of its interests in the Frommer’s brand, to Google. Proceeds from this sale, and others that may arise from the sale of other consumer assets, will be redeployed to support growth opportunities in Professional/Trade; Scientific, Technical, Medical, and Scholarly; and Global Education businesses.

In Frommer’s Google acquires a massive vault of travel content. That haul is both larger and more diverse than its previous major content acquisition in publisher Zagat. Google could use that content to support its nascent travel and hotel search offerings in numerous ways.

As with Zagat part of the value (though not all of it) resides in the Frommer’s brand. Google so far has elected to maintain the Zagat brand and it will likely be compelled to do so with Frommer’s to realize the full value of its acquisition. Over time I could imagine a Google division that houses both Zagat and Frommer’s (and perhaps other content assets) under a single executive.

Regardless of how it assimilates Frommer’s this is a significant content acquisition for Google. In addition to its website, paper travel guides and other assets Frommer’s has a number of mobile travel apps.

Thanks to Nyagoslav Zhekov for alerting us to the news.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Acquisitions | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Mobile | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Durant Imboden

    It will be interesting to see how much of this is about acquiring content and how much is about acquiring the brand. 

    Keeping 300 guidebooks’ worth of professionally-written editorial content up to date isn’t easy or cheap (which may be why Frommers have been letting things slide). It certainly isn’t “scalable,” so I can’t imagine Google deciding to get into the travel-content business without having a plan that goes beyond Frommers’ 20th Century editorial model.

  • Authority Buzz

    Smart move on Google’s part. First Zagat for their restaurant data. And now Frommer’s for their travel data.

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