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Google Travel?



11:18 am on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google Travel?

There are rumors on the Zdnet blog that google is getting into the travel business by launching a travel portal, I believe this could be a serious threat for smaller/medium travel sites, especially since if this news is true all the major search engines will have a travel offering (Yahoo Travel, MSN Travel and perhaps Google Travel).

Naturally all the search engines above will give priority to their travel offering vis-a-vis the indexed competition in their search results, I believe the launch of such a portal by google will be especially destructive for smaller and medium travel sites due to Google defacto monopoly on the search market, such a situation may lead to similar problems caused by Microsoft dominance on the operating system and Microsoft push for its own solutions.

While Google need to continue to innovate and enter new markets mainly due to its status as a public growth company, it also need to safeguard the neutrality and the accuracy of its search results, by giving the user a true indexing of all what is available there for a given category.

I believe Google is or will be in a dilemma as the goals of search accuracy and the commercial interests of its specialized portals may not always meet.

Any comments will be welcome,
Best regards,

<No links to blogs/rumors, thanks.
See Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]>

[edited by: tedster at 1:37 pm (utc) on April 17, 2006]


2:34 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I don't see this as being a big deal. Look at Yahoo: A Yahoo search on "Elbonia travel" will show the "Elbonia Visitor Guide on Yahoo! Travel" in the #1 slot, but the remaining slots will be occupied by pages from other travel sites. I'd expect Google Travel to operate in much the same way.

It's even possible that this could work to the benefit of online travel publishers by creaing new ad-revenue opportunities as the competition among brand-name travel portals and online travel agencies like Expedia and Orbitz heats up. On my own site, I've seen AdSense ads for Yahoo! Travel in the past, and this month my display-ad rep firm has been serving skyscrapers on my site for MSN Travel.

I do think the days of travel booking and affiliate sites that don't offer added value are numbered. But sites that offer valuable niche content (such as information-rich destination sites or specialized sites like airlinemeals.net or seatguru.com) will continue to resonate with consumers and generate revenues through CPM/CPC advertising and affiliate bookings.


5:09 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree. I just did a search in Yahoo for "travel reviews" and saw powerhouses like International Circuit come up far before Yahoo Travel.


5:22 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


the first result after the paid stuff:

'Travel Reviews on Yahoo! Travel '

then again at number 4 in the serps....

travelin cat

6:26 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I do not think that any good travel site will be affected by this. It was to be expected...

Also, our site ranks higher on Yahoo then their own travel pages for many niche keywords, as do many other travel sites.


6:53 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

A lot depends on excatly how Google structures its travel site. It may actually be a boon to travel suppliers if the new site will allow them to upload inventory (like Froogle or video.google.com).


7:22 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It was seeing Google's pathetic efforts that led me to launch a travel directory three years ago.

Nothing has changed. I've been a specialist travel editor in the UK travel market since 1988. I know it better than Google's most perfect algorithm will ever know it and, since I know the people in the industry I know about new product and new travel providers before Google's latest mozilla spider has even woken up and had its breakfast.

So. Do I need the competition? No thanks. This is not particularly good news.

But, will it herald the demise of my site? Dream on!


7:30 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

nothing to worry, has anything changed for financial sites after launch of google finance, no rather many fin sites are happy seeing their results in google fin. sale will happen if google launches google travel, # 1 for travel.google.com and rest as usual.


10:07 pm on Apr 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


Travel Reviews on Yahoo! Travel is to be expected. My point was that bigger better travel sites such as International Circuit (that I mentioned) and My Travel Guide rank above Yahoo Travel, as they should.

I expect Google will handle it the same way. It's only fair.


3:22 am on Apr 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

These big players are not much competition for a niche travel site with real people on the ground and extensive knowledge of a particular area, but for all the thousands of sites that are a mile wide and an inch deep (including Yahoo, Trip Advisor and their smaller clones), yes this is clearly bad news for them.


6:44 am on Apr 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well guys the majority of you seems to be very confident regarding this possible development and I hope you are right, it is worth noting however that using yahoo travel as a comparison may not be the best example, since the traffic coming from yahoo is substantially lower to what most sites get from google, in addition I hear Google Travel will have cool features such as travel videos from google video search, online reservations and deep travel content taken from various partnerships.

I donít know if anyone here checked Microsoft new travel portal? It is quite a good product and if google manage to do the same or better, some sites may indeed be in trouble.


7:56 am on Apr 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

oh, another place for expedia to place their ads.
many people would visit google travel website but i guess not many will buy.


4:36 pm on Apr 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Google doesn't produce original content. My understanding is that they have no desire to get into the business of producing original content.

So if Google starts a travel portal the chances are they'll need to highlight content that appears around the web (as they do with Google News).

That would seem to be a good thing for those of us who produce original travel related content.

Am I missing something obvious?


6:34 pm on Apr 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I hear Google Travel will have cool features such as travel videos from google video search, online reservations and deep travel content taken from various partnerships.

Videos are fine, but--like photo galleries--they attract as many armchair travelers as they do actual travelers. (I've got photo galleries myself, and I can tell you that they don't generate nearly as much revenue as travel-planning content does.)

Online reservations? Everybody's got those.

"Deep travel content taken from various partnerships"? That's just what the Web needs: More recycled content from Frommer's, Fodor's, etc. For more on this topic, I'll quote from my post in a travel-related thread on the AdSense Forum::

I have in-depth coverage of destinations (in at least one case, a delightful city of several hundred thousand people) that aren't even mentioned by the big English-language guidebook sites. And even for major destinations, the big sites' online coverage tends to be skimpy. Plus, there's the formatting problem: Guidebook publishers tend to dump their text into CMS-generated template pages with very little in the way of photos. So, even if a 400-page guidebook to [city name] were to be published in full on the Web, it probably wouldn't be very attractive or inviting to readers. The cost of hand-editing the guidebook content into a user-friendly, Web-centric site would be prohibitive.

In one respect, the Web is a lot like the print publishing industry: Fodor's can't afford to devote more than a few pages to Siena or Luebeck, but niche publishers can justify creating entire guidebooks--often in several languages--for those small to medium-sized cities.

Back to your post:

I donít know if anyone here checked Microsoft new travel portal? It is quite a good product and if google manage to do the same or better, some sites may indeed be in trouble.

I became aware of MSN Travel when it began advertising on my site. Just a moment ago, I looked at its Paris coverage, which consists mostly of:

- Short text excerpts from Frommers.com.

- Hotel reviews from TripAdvisor

- Hotel links to Expedia

And not much else.

There's nothing horribly wrong with MSN Travel's coverage; there just isn't much of it, and it doesn't engage the reader. It uses the "broad but shallow" approach that you find in most corporate-owned sites' destination guides (and, indeed, most of the content is from destination guides at other corporate-owned sites). I certainly wouldn't call it "quite a good product": In my opinion, it's just another me-too travel portal with recycled content.

Bottom line:

Travel portals have their place, and they may be useful starting points for people who are buying flights or tour packages. But they really don't compete head on with niche content sites, any more than TRAVEL & LEISURE competes with the GEMUETLICHKEIT travel newsletter or FODOR'S EUROPE competes with Hanseatischer Verlag's LUEBECK CITY GUIDE.


9:37 am on Apr 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My overriding concern is that if Google branches out too much intothe hand that feeds it, they may end up alienating themselves from the hand that feeds them.

Due to shareholders expectations, and the need to increase income, Google has ventured into territories that it is not branded for.

This could lead to an uprising within the communities it is affecting. I sincerely hope that they are acting in a support capacity rather than a competetive one, as businesses can be very unforgiving.


1:05 pm on Apr 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Good post, EuropeforVisitors.

Agree with all of it.


1:28 pm on Apr 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't be worried about anything new that Goog is doing, just look at their newest offerings, all a bunch of jokes. Let's see if they can determine authority, still lots of work to do on the SERPs, but all they spend time on is mkaing an algoirthm to raise AdWords prices 10-fold and decrease AdSense cut.

I like your work google, keep it up.


7:50 pm on Apr 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I run a travel site on a specific area, and the top results do not include any of the big names in travel, but more specific local results in general. Especialyy when you search for information, rather than, say, hotels. Google travel would no doubt affect that, but as someone said, it will be just one more slot filler.


9:49 am on Apr 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just looked at MSN Travel and it really is absolute pants. Why don't they just call it MSN Frommers Travel?


2:18 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Guys ... who knows what google will do. They re-invented email services and the online advertising industry and search. So really we dont have any idea what they'll come up with.
One thing is for sure - it'll be new, cool and ultimately make travel search easier. However, thankfully, they will never become an airline or a hotel chain which is where most of us online travel affiliates get our income.

So lets just wait and see.


5:14 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

EFV is right.

Niche is where it's at. That's all that's left for the little guy. Big portals and the like are for corporates and teams of gazillions of webmonkeys. These serve a purpose to a point.

Find yourself a niche and exploit it to it's maximum.


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