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Google Trips – a game changer in sheep's clothing

Google’s entry into the travel space is nothing new, non-controversial and entirely expected. They’re not even the first in the market segment to launch something. However, Google tends to get things right. Very right.

Google’s entry into the travel space is nothing new, non-controversial and entirely expected. They’re not even the first in the market segment to launch something. However, Google tends to get things right. Very right.

For example, Google Trips, which recently launched. This harmless little app could herald the biggest game changer yet for Travel Agents.

With NDC, or IATA’s new distribution capability (a.k.a. better data standards for booking flights) due mid 2017, the timing for Google is perfect.

That’s what makes a clever, what it does not do. It does not make bookings. Yet. It does something much, much more powerful.

Travellers can book their trip from a number of sources and email those receipts, itineraries, flight details and so on to their Gmail account. This clever little app scans email and adds items to the itinerary.

Book a flight with Flight Centre, a hotel with hotel club, attractions with Viator, and a cruise with helloworld. Forward the information to a Gmail account and presto it’s in the itinerary.

(I wonder if any franchise groups are feeling awkward about using Gmail at a corporate level…)

When somebody travels, they enable the location services get offered all sorts of restaurant deals, vouchers and added services that Google makes commissions on. It will even track where you walk and how you walk to advise on advertising placements in the city.

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Google will harvest data not only on you, but where you buy your product from. It will then track what you do when you go there, step-by-step. So on your device its about you; across millions of devices it’s all about mapping consumer expenditure across the travel competition.

Every Google Trip entry is accurate data on their competition ; previously unseen threat to everyone else in the industry. Can Flight Centre access accurate metrics on helloworld? Can MTA see figures on TravelManagers?

Google will now start seeing all of that. On everyone.

Google will very quickly be able to assess which brands are most popular for which destinations and in turn identify buyout targets. In time, all of this data will be used by Google to apply price pressure to hotels, airlines and cruise operators.

Some days my tinfoil hat feels a little bit tight. The more I think about Google Trip, the more uncomfortable it feels.

Do you think Google Trips is a game changer?