Posted by: Marshall Sponder | May 26, 2008

Google to get into Travel … very interesting … and ominous for some sites

Well, I guess it had to happen – Google, that has gotten so good at Search is now becoming like a dragon, devouring it’s young – by going after one vertical after another and offering what it feels is a better solution than existing online properties according to Search Engine Land in a post titled Travel Appears To Be Next Up For Google.

For Travel – who can blame them, though – so much more could be done than is being done by most travel sites that with Google’s resources of Google Maps and YouTube – along with it’s Search, could create a killer application for Travel Sites (I guess you could pay for your reservations with Google Checkout…ha, ha, ha, …take that …PayPal!).

Last year and the year before I had a client that ran 4 travel sites for Ireland, Scotland and England – and I came up with many great ideas for them (Social Media related, mostly) but all they cared about was tracking their TravelZoo advertising ROI – and honestly – that was a problem based on the way their sites were set up – but the rest – there was so much more they could have done – than they did – all it took was some courage and a little insight into the market… insight, to some extent, they had …. in YouTube.

My idea was to stream YouTube videos around the landing pages for the travel promotions they had run, and also give people who booked a tour a simple cheap video camera that would take pictures of the locations and provide feedback ….. not  a hard thing to do – along with allowing them to upload the movies and reviews.

OK, there are other sites like TripAdvisor that does part of this for you – but a travel site that sells Irish tours – is probably not going to get the detailed feedback and Search Traffic (from all the footage and reviews) without going into User Generated Content and being open to it.

Well, guess what….. Google is going to do it for you ….. and take the traffic for itself.

And honestly, I can’t blame them.

If travel services can’t see the writing on the wall – then they deserve to go out of business.

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