Google has set its foot everywhere, in every sector, and in every area, where it could get clients for advertising. That’s what Google has been thriving on for a very long time. And probably, Google has made new plans to continue the same after going through a lot of backlash from the public over information misuse and data breach issues. One of Google’s prime areas has been helping people organize their travel plans using various Google apps such as flights, trips, and hotels search. Even on using third-party travel planners, Google has always maintained notes of user’s upcoming travels and reservations on Google dashboard, if the travel planner is registered with a Gmail account (which is the case most of the times). Now, Google has decided to “ease up user experience” by merging its three different platforms into a single one. Is it really a plan to help users plan their travels more conveniently?
Google Trips: Google’s Travel Planner
Google first launched Google Trips in 2016 as a travel organizer app for Android users (and later for Apple users in 2018). The app allowed users to plan their upcoming trips by making plans for reservations, destination tours, and places to visit. Users could search for famous places at their destinations, trending food there, and take notes of their vacations days plans. Google Trips acted like a mobile itinerary for the users, which had information about user’s hotel bookings and other travel reservations available on Gmail. Google uses users’ Gmail notifications to add that information on Trips for user convenience. This way Google was offering users to have an organized tour along with the fun.
Google Flights and Google Hotel Search
Google Flights was a flight booking platform launched by Google, where users were able to view flight plans for multiple locations and travel date and were also able to book tickets after being redirected to the selected airline vendor. This allowed users to compare flight prices and select the desired vendor from a single platform.
Google Hotel Search does the same job, just that it is for booking hotels. You just enter the location you wish to search hotels in and Google would push your various options to choose from along with price tags. For bookings, you are again redirected to the official sites of the respective hotels, or to the sites of other reservations and booking platforms with which the concerned hotel vendor is associated with. For example, a hotel can associate itself with booking platforms like Hotwire to serve users a convenient booking experience and reach a broader consumer base.
What Is Trips? Google’s One-Place Travel and Booking Platform
Google has now decided to merge all platforms i.e. Google Flights, Google Trips, and Google Hotel Search into a single application called simply Trips. With Trips, Google has unified its previously scattered trip planning platform. So, now, as a user, you can make bookings, reservations, and design your travel plan on a single platform. Now you can directly make bookings and then book your hotels before planning out how you’d spend the vacation on the same app.
So How Does That Play?
Trips would first let you book fights by redirecting to partnered vendors. The same process would follow when you wish to make hotel reservations. Once you make your reservations using Trips, Google would fetch that information from Gmail notifications and would fetch it to Trips. Since while booking flights your location would be on, Google would know all about your journey plans and would accordingly offer you a plan that can help you make the most out of that trip.
So, why suddenly Google has decided to unify its trip planning service for users.
Google’s Yet Another Move To Track You
Google bought flight information company ITA Software Inc. almost a decade ago, thus beginning its venture into the travel business. But rather than launching a personal travel booking portal, Google partnered with vendors and made Google Flights a business-to-business platform. After so many years, Google has made big changes to its platform, and there are big reasons for it.
Google says, “Our goal is to simplify trip planning by helping you quickly find the most useful information and pick up where you left off on any device. We’ll continue to make planning and taking trips easier with Google Maps, Google Search and google.com/travel—so you can get out and enjoy the world.”
But, there are certainly bigger plans Google is aiming at fulfilling.
With the three platforms separated, Google had to face competition from three different sides. But with unification, Google has merged that competition. There are various other platforms that offer booking and reservations services for users, which are in many ways preferable over Google Searches. Though Google does direct you to the third-party vendors, users prefer to directly compare prices and deals at platforms for both travel bookings and hotel reservations. Why visit three platforms to plan a trip right?
Google fetches commissions from the partnered vendors if its travel planning platforms are used to make reservations. With this unification, Google tends to revive its travel business and get users to use Google for planning their trips. The planner, Google Trips was a great app and a great place to plan the vacation days. By merging bookings into planning, Google has made another aspect of vacation planning much more convenient for users. And this convenience would surely result in a lot of marketing commissions for the company.
Google’s Non-Monetized Asset: Travel & Hospitality Industry
This is not the first time Google is trying to strike the travel business. The travel and hospitality industry actually accounts for more than 10% of Google’s revenue, and without even monetizing it. Google never sells you flight tickets but redirects you to vendors for the completion of the booking process, allowing users to directly communicate with the booking partners. The billions of dollars of worth of the travel and hospitality industry were the reason Google focused on it in the first. And now, by merging all the platforms. Google has displayed intentions of taking over competitors by snatching billions of dollars in revenue from them.
Well, Google already has a long list of advantages. Firstly, the users and per-day visitors. That’s the unprecedented fact that Google has the highest number of visitors every day, as it holds the position of being the biggest search engine in the world. Almost everyone is going to type “Flights from New York to Paris” on Google before directly visiting the airlines on their sites. Plus, Google’s dominance over other service platforms. Google is a brand name, which is a part of every household. People are familiar with that and would most likely trust Google searches over other platforms. This gives another edge to Google’s plans of targeting travel business. And since Google is charging nothing to help people choose the best services, it has no issues of losing users over monetary concerns. Thus, a win-win for Google. With all hands full, it is certain Google will use these advantages to turn the tides and may settle with the biggest share among all players.
Google’s Advertisement Business To Take Another Boost
Until now, Google had dominance over our shopping preferences, which were imposed on us by Google AdSense throughout our internet sessions. Looks like, with Trips, it’d be our travel and vacation choices that would flood the webpages we scrutinize. By making bookings on Trips, Google would fetch your destination location via Maps and will push tourism ads of the famous locations there. In case you just visit Trips to no book but learn about the recent deals, it’d be the ads from different partnered booking vendors highlighting “extravagant” deals for you. And of course, the vast your itinerary is on Trips, the more leverage Google would have in regard to the access of your locations, your bookings, nearby places, and even food preferences at the destination.
So, just like always, we all happily agreed to let Google take any information it wants and this time it’s about the ways we are planning to relax.
Google is aiming at big business profits with this change and like always is promoting it as a user convenience feature. All that has been done is the merger between three platforms. On one hand, while Google promises privacy to users after getting so much backlash from global authorities, and on one hand, it upgrades its services to the point that it fetches every information on user preferences and choices. Google is also planning to integrate Trips with maps, so you’d be able to plan your trips directly from Maps as well. This feature is not about reviving Google’s travel business, but about revamping Google’s Digital Adverting business, adding travel to that list.