Travel Verticals Successfully Fight Google

By Prne, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

AMSTERDAM - More and more online-booking engines are choosing vertical-websites over Google Adwords when spending their marketing budgets. Verticals (also referred to as “metasearchers”) such as the popular travel sites of, and, combine real-time data (such as availability and rates) from numerous online-booking engines to show comparative results to their users. With these verticals offering their visitors the convenience of displaying all online-booking engines search results within a single page, there is an increasing interest in verticals. Whilst users may use Google for an initial search, once a vertical site is found they do not have the need to visit further individual sites, which will effect Google significantly.

The online-booking engine ( which has been doing business predominately with Google for the last five years has recently expanded to new marketing channels including verticals with striking results.

From the beginning of 2009, verticals make up 30% of the total traffic and reservations leads for With such strong results shown in a period of less than ten months, decided to further broaden its partnerships expecting for verticals to make up to 50% of their traffic and reservation leads within the coming months. This strong increase will be propelled by their unique proprietary Affiliate Program. (

In contrast to Google Adwords, verticals offer online-booking engines the possibility to directly advertise hotels, including their up to date rates and availability. Because vertical visitors are presented with hotels/rooms which suit their budget and travel dates, the conversion rate is much higher than that of Google Adwords. for example experiences a four times higher conversion rate. This high conversion rate together with the huge amount of traffic they generate, make verticals the prime competitor for Google Adwords in the online travel industry.

In the future a lot of online-booking engines might choose to spend large amounts of their marketing budgets in verticals instead of in Google Adwords. Therefore it is likely that Google will react.

In the Google Q2 Earnings Call 2009 ( 149349-google-q2-2009-earnings-call-transcript) there was a question of what Google thinks about the concept of vertical search. Eric Schmidt (CEO at Google) answered that there is room for improvement for vertical search in Google, but they do not have anything ready to roll out just yet. Schmidt continued by stating that on some vertical searches (like travel) the Google Adwords advertisements are more valuable than the organic results, but they do not know yet what to do with that observation. J. Rosenberg (Senior Vice President of Product Management at Google) answered on this question that Google is likely to add more information to its advertisements based on the preferences of their visitors. (Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser’s URL address field. Remove the space if one exists.)

This could mean that Google is very much aware of the importance of showing more relevant information in certain niche markets like travel but they simply have not decided what plan of action to take. CEO Malte Siewert says “Hotel prices change rapidly which is why price comparison in this industry is more complex than in others. There is a technological barrier to develop a meta-searcher and only few services in the world offer a comprehensive high quality rate search. Many new players underestimate the resources and knowledge needed to be successful in the market, but also existing horizontal search engines find it hard to tap into that space.”

For the time being, verticals gain ground over Google in the travel advertisement battle and will not be defeated easily.

Source: Easy to Book GmbH

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