How Google reshapes hotel distribution

New Skift research views the latest iteration by the search giant as contributing directly to the democratization of the online travel industry

Oct 19, 2023

Skift Research has conducted an extensive data-scraping of the Google Hotels platform to understand how hotels are listed on Google, which OTAs are bidding for bookings, and whether Google is aiding direct bookings to compete more head-on with online intermediaries.

Key takeaways

  • Paid sponsored listings are dominated by the largest online travel agencies (OTAs), whereas smaller OTAs are less likely to bid in the sponsored results box. There are also clear signs that is targeting market share in the U.S., with it being the most likely to feature in the sponsored results, followed by U.S. incumbent;
  • The introduction of organic results is leveling the distribution playing field – allowing the direct site and smaller OTAs opportunity to compete head-on with Booking and Expedia;
  • Google Hotels actively prioritizes the direct site in its organic results, with the official site most likely to appear top of the organic list, even when it is not the cheapest option. Google is playing an increasingly important role in the dis-intermediation and disruption of the legacy OTAs by aiding the shift to direct bookings.

Get the full story at Skift (subscription only) and purchase the report A Deep Dive into Google Travel Part I: U.S. Hotel Distribution

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