Is Google going to be a winner amid and post COVID-19?
Charlie thinks so. "They've improved their commission model and have the benefit of the integration with Google Maps, which positions them at the starting point of search."
There a few things they must wrestle with though.
Nicole was quick to ask, "Will Google do a better job than other 'metasearch' of squashing 3rd party resellers?" Also, emphasizing the challenge of parity for hotels is not going away.
Andrew responded with, "Small OTAs and grey-market wholesale sites appear quite frequently on Google Hotel Ads, often official rates are massively undercut or don't exist when you click through, reminding us that Google has not been the best at policing their own policies."
Andrew added, there's tension to manage between Google and the OTAs, "With 70% of their revenue coming from advertising dollars and travel is their 3rd biggest category and the two biggest advertisers in travel are OTAs." He's not convinced they can always offer the best booking solutions to hotels as they have to balance delivering the best experience for consumers with the huge advertising dollars they earn from OTAs.
Andrew went on to add, "The qualifying criteria for the Book With Google feature on Google Hotel Ads very much favors larger chains and online travel agencies. You have to have a large minimum number of properties, a large minimum number of rooms available, and large minimum number of transactions which an independent hotel will not have, but an OTA will."
So what is a small independent hotel to do?
Watch and learn!