In what must be a bummer for the often crazy and mistaken speculation that Google is on its way to becoming an online travel agency, Google has informed tour and activity providers and booking partners that it is going to be phased in. withdraw. Book with Google for tour bookings from August 1, Skift has learned.
Booking with Google allowed tour and activity planners to enter bookings into their Google business listings, eliminating the need for travelers to navigate to other websites. Partner online travel agencies processed reservations for Google in the background.
“We want to let you know that Google plans to officially deactivate Book with Google for tours, activities and attractions on August 1, 2021. This means that the Buy Tickets button will no longer appear after July 31,” Google informed. the partners.
Strategy, like Dennis’ online travel briefing reported a few weeks ago, is for Google to achieve consistency between its various products for monetization purposes. So just like Google made the transition from its hotel metasearch product, Google Hotels, to a combination of ads and free links, it will do the same with tours and activities, or experiences.
Google’s decrease in its reservation services doesn’t mean it is becoming less powerful in travel or withdrawing from the Things to Do business, as Google calls it.
A Google spokesperson made a statement on Google’s next steps with attractions.
“We intend to test the introduction of ticket booking links on Google search, so that users can easily compare options for visiting their favorite attractions,” the spokesperson said.
So it’s initially different from how Google handles Google hotels, Google vacation rentals, and Google flights, which are bundled together in Google Travel’s price comparison service.
Google will initially offer ticketing for attractions, namely places like theme parks or museums, and not necessarily food tours, for example, in Google search. Consumers could likely start in Google search and then book these attractions on attraction websites or through online travel agency partners.
Partner booking links, which require less integration than Booking with Google, would be free in the initial phase. Google would not be paid for clicks.
By moving away from Booking with Google for attractions, Google can focus more on creating the product.
Some experts have long indulged in mad speculation that Google will make a change and become an all-in-one online travel agency. But this is unlikely because Google would then have to compete directly – even more than today – its largest advertisers, including Booking Holdings, Expedia Group and many others.
It would put Google’s huge travel advertising business at risk, arguably one of its biggest verticals.
“As we shared previously, Google continues to invest deeply in solutions for users and partners in this industry, and we’re excited to continue working with you on Google Things to Do in 2021 and beyond.” Google told tour operators and partners. “Please also keep in mind that as our new product offerings continue to expand, especially the ticket search feature for attractions, it is likely that Book with Google traffic will continue to decline over the course of the year. of the last month of its posting. “
It’s probably no coincidence that Google is cutting back on booking services during a time when its power in travel and other verticals is crumbling. pressure.