Google denies ambitions to become an OTA
A Google vice president has denied the search engine has ambitions to be an OTA but admitted it could be more transparent in its workings.
Speaking at the Phocuswright Europe conference in Dublin, vice president of product and engineering for travel and shopping Oliver Heckmann revealed a number of new projects to the audience.
But when answering questions after the presentation, he denied allegations made throughout the day by the audience that the search engine had further ambitions to move into the travel arena.
Heckmann said: “We don’t have plans to become an OTA. We want to have a very good business model that works for us today.
“When I talk to individual partners there’s a lot of misconceptions in what we’re doing and we haven’t been so transparent in the past about what we’re doing and where we’re going.”
However, Heckmann also argued that travel is a big enough market for everyone, should Google decide to delve further into the market.
He added: “Travel is a huge space, people travelling have very different preferences, whether it is a budget traveller, a Lonely Planet traveller or an architect like my wife who wants to see a huge building and live in the best hotels.”
Heckmann had started his presentation by revealing data which showed Google had seen an increase of nearly 40% in mobile searches in the travel category between 2015 Q4 and 2016 Q1 while mobile conversion rates had also grown 10% in the same period for travel.
He added conversion rates could be made even better thanks to the forthcoming introduction of a Book on Google app which has been designed to grow conversion rates further.
It will work by sending users to partner OTAs. However, bookings should be easier to make as the user is sent there via a Google portal, meaning all their credit card details are on hand and do not need to be re-entered when paying.
However, Heckmann reiterated: “We are not becoming an OTA.”
Read original article