Google brings out
bitter strong emotions in anyone connected with new media - and certainly most working in the travel industry.
So interesting to hear a discussion about the Search Engine Daddy and its hold on the industry at this week's TTI Open Space event in Windsor.
Led by Stella Travel’s Gordon Maynard, the debate was titled ‘What will Google do to the Travel Industry?’ - but it quickly morphed into 'What can the industry do about Google?'.
Here are some suggestions from the assembled brains, including Dermot McNally (Directski), Carlos Pereira (Ceejay Travel) and Bill Taylor (Advantage Travel Centres):
- Get together and propose how travel product search could develop. Try and work with them rather than working against them.
- Sit down with Google and have a sensible discussion with them and use collective power to influence them.
- Ensure Google remains an information medium, which of course they say they will, and not a selling medium.
- A blank boycott – take your money elsewhere and pursue better deals on other sites.
- Develop a more optimised service with other platforms.
- Concentrate on natural search.
- Measure the real returns you are getting and make sure there is no wastage.
- Build a competing travel search engine.
- Forget about Google and concentrate on your website because search engines are driving traffic to it that is often lost.
- And, finally, persuade Google to buy Expedia because its search engine is a lot better than anyone elses.
Because the industry feels it must participate but there is a lack of control. Many also feel there is no real middle ground.
As Anite’s Ed Spiers put it: “There was a gap for more flexible travel and the need to get a structured view on an essentially unstructured market.”
Linda Fox, freelance journalist
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