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Google’s online travel adventure upsets its biggest advertisers

11/24/2016| 6:04:44 PM| 中文

Despite more than $15 billion in annual revenue and hefty profits, online travel agents like Priceline and Expedia Inc. are increasingly wary of Google encroaching on their turf. That's lifting tension with a sector that's one of Google's biggest advertisers.

At the largest online travel conference last week, industry executive Steve Hafner was asked an unusual question: What's the first word that comes to mind when you think about Google? 

"Annoying," said Hafner, chief executive officer of Priceline Group Inc.'s Kayak business.

Hafner captured the mood well. Despite more than USD15 billion in annual revenue and hefty profits, online travel agents like Priceline and Expedia Inc. are increasingly wary of Google encroaching on their turf. That's lifting tension with a sector that's one of Google's biggest advertisers.

The two camps once lived in harmony. The travel giants appeared on top of Google travel search results, either by buying ads or tweaking their websites to suit Google’s algorithm. But in recent years, Google remade its search engine to show its own flight and hotel information above links to Priceline and Expedia. It launched a trip-planning app in September and sometimes lets travelers book hotels and flights on Google. Some industry players expect more direct competition like this. 

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TAGS: Google | travel marketing
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