Google's travel plans
May 27, 2008:BusinessWeek writes about Google's potential plans to enter the travel arena with a specialized offering, that will include marketer-sponsored pages where vacationers can learn about a destination and see related user-generated content.
The goal of Google’s travel division - aside from tapping into the $90+ billion global travel ad and sales market - is to give users a destination where they can research travel plans, read user reviews, and see user uploaded videos and photos, writes BusinessWeek. Already, about 50% of travelers use some sort of online social media site to research their plans, says Torres. Why not give them a one-stop shop for travel information? “We are already so highly searched for travel,” says Torres.
Fueling Google’s travel plans is consumers move to researching and booking vacations online. In 2007, more travel sales were booked online than in person, says Torres. That means travel marketers, many of whom already spend millions on search ads and the like, will likely shift more of their budgets to the Web.
Also spurring Google’s interest is some early success with sponsored travel offerings. Nearly 900,000 people have watched a New Zealand tourism board’s video ad since it was uploaded to YouTube last September. That kind of traffic is bound to draw marketers.