Google has strongly burst onto the hotel-transaction scene via its Book on Google (BoG) interface, awakening plenty of curiosity and questions about the real interest Google has with this movement. At first, it presents many similarities in regards to the twist carried out by TripAdvisor with Instant Booking. However, at the same time, it’s very different.
What is Book on Google?
It is a booking system or interface that Google provides in order for users to complete their booking without leaving Google instead of redirecting them to the hotel’s or OTA’s website. You can find more about what it is and how it looks like in “What is Book on Google and how does the client see it?”
Is it a feature reserved for hotels or can OTAs also participate?
It’s available for both hotels and OTAs. Here’s an example of a hotel and an OTA using Book on Google.
What does Google want with Book on Google?
The goal is to improve the user experience, especially on mobile devices, where the jump to the OTA or hotel website results in losing clients due to bad adaptation or slow response times. With this change, and always according to Google, they achieve an increase in conversion, therefore getting to a win-win situation for both client and hotel (and of course Google too).
It follows the same reasoning Tripadvisor logically exposed when launching Instant Booking.
However, one could argue two additional interests that Google hasn’t disclosed but that are clearly there:
- Gaining access to millions of new data that it previously didn’t have, such as client behaviour during the booking, most popular room types, most popular payment methods, additional requests made by the client during the booking or frequent travellers and their destinations. Google, as a natural leader of big data, could use this data and increase its already immense knowledge of its users.
- Coming full circle and keeping the client during all stages of his service cycle: inspiration > search > comparison > booking > share and start again. In other words, “why leave Google if I can do it all on here?”.
Lastly is the eternal question of, “what will Google do in 2, 3 or 5 years? Will it still want to provide bookings or will it change its strategy?