Report Overview

Travel is roaring back. And with the return of business also comes with it an old set of challenges. “What’s our Google strategy” is once again a key question that every travel executive needs to be asking.

The online behemoth’s impact is felt far and wide in the travel industry. Skift Research published a deep dive into Google’s impact on the travel industry in February 2020. Just a few weeks later the world turned upside down as the true impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit home.

Now, over two years later, as the travel industry rebuilds, we revisit this critical topic. We identified five big open questions about the role of Google in travel that arose before and during the pandemic.

The Key Questions for Google and Metasearch

  1. Can online travel agencies use the pandemic to reset their relationships with Google?
  2. Can travel metasearch diversify away from booking site advertising?
  3. Can Google bring hotel brands onto their metasearch platform?
  4. Can travel-specific metasearch beat back Google?
  5. What is the future of online travel in a Google world?

With 2022 the year of travel’s recovery, Skift Research believes we can start to answer these questions. This report will delve into more detail on each question, but in short, we believe that Google’s influence on the travel industry has only expanded during the pandemic and the search platform is now firmly entrenched at the top of the travel marketing funnel. The last decade saw fierce battles for market share and user growth. But now we believe the metasearch wars are ending; Google has won.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • How much the travel industry spends on Google.
  • How Google Travel’s share of user traffic has evolved during the pandemic.
  • The different approaches that Expedia, Booking, and Airbnb are taking to spending on Google.
  • The influence that Google Travel has on hotel and airline bookings.
  • Why we believe that the online travel industry needs to redesign its consumer value proposition.