Google No Longer The Dark Horse
Google is no longer the dark horse but one of the key players fighting for consumers attention against Priceline and Expedia. It came as no surprise that once Google had started its quest into travel it would be an unstoppable force. With Google already having the e-commerce and marketing platforms built in the search engine, it will be really exciting to see how Google will gain more popularity and develop its travel products.
Powerful brands like Priceline and Expedia have the advantage of having their easy to use products in the market for some time. Thus, building their online and offline reputation. Not only this, they are also covering most markets with the acquisitions of smaller of OTA’s and metasearch engines across the globe. They have understood that past consumer habits may have been loyal to the travel brand they have used the most.
However, Google is levelling the playing field with Millennials as technology platforms have moved onto the mobile and desktop the search engine becomes a flight comparison platform. Gaining popularity, Google Flights is so easy to use as it appears straight up in the search, first in the list. No need for millennials to look elsewhere, and most importantly no need to advertise. It is one of the differences between Priceline, Expedia and Google Flights; that Google Flights doesn’t need to advertise its product further to Millennials when it appears repeatedly appears in front of them. That’s what I believe may be key for the next generation.
If you look at Trivago (before it was acquired by Expedia), it used and still uses television advertisement as its strongest tool for marketing. So many times, I had seen their advertisement that I could repeat the advert word for word. It’s that repetition that has been part of their success. Google flights will do the same more subtly in their search engine.
So, Expedia and Priceline better hurry up and think of a creative way to get to the Millennials first! While other search engines like Yahoo and Bing may not have a product like Google Flights, perhaps there is a way for a partnership to be formed with OTA’s and search engines. Can OTA’s provide their product integrated with a search engine just like Google Flights? Either way, becoming the largest OTA in the world may no longer be the right strategy moving forward. Now with Google Trips and Google’s translating headphones, it may encourage Millennials to use all their products combined. Watch this space!