Whitey - 11:49 pm on Nov 24, 2012 (gmt 0)
They just didn't provide the kind of dependability I was looking for, and I think my experience was pretty common.
Overall customer satisfaction measured by conversion rates is very low in travel. The lowest conversions are in the SERP's [ even the strongest brands ] and the highest are in the booking paths of partners e.g. airlines , where trusted brands act as referrals.
Offline brand retention is suprisingly poor, with a couple of notable exceptions in some regions which perform differently.
Travel is always going to be a low conversion category due to the considerable variances required to satisfy the broad spectrum of need, except in commodity status bookings. Hotels do a good marketing job to fall outside of this.
But Google has the data to determin whether this works for them or not. So our sentiments may not count for much as they focus on the bottom line.
Putting my consumer hat on, the UI is a long way short of major players UI's especially meta search UI's. But I suppose this compete's with meta search and i don't expect meta search players to appear on Google hotel finder's results. Priceline must have got a plan up it's sleeve to purchase Kayak for $1.5bn knowing this was going to happen.
My guess is that Google will bumble along with this off - focus , effective experiment for many years, causing disruption to players in the meantime.