September 08, 2014

Google expected to roll out new “captive demand” platform for hotels


Google has quietly been rolling out a new advertising product over the last several months, which allows suppliers and wholesalers to promote a discounted rate through Google Search / Hotel Ads, thus undermining BAR rates published on OTA and meta search sites.

Through this new travel initiative, Google would afford suppliers and brands a method in which to make “Limited Offers” (via Suppliers / Wholesalers) and, more importantly, expects to roll out a new “captive demand” platform in partnership with the major brands which stands to integrate loyalty / reward information into a logged-in Hotel Finder travel search experience, likely leveling the Search playing field in travel like we have never seen before.

Moreover, through API integrations that tie booking activity to Maps, Wallet and Now, which are increasingly recommended / required as part of Google’s Hotel Ads, linked itineraries, travel directions, and even check-in / check-out are becoming user features as well.

As an example, a search for SF Hotels revealed a 30% discount in Hotel Finder for the W Hotel SF compared to OTA and Meta sites where BAR (Best Available Rate) is observed, meaning that searching through Google’s Hotel Finder experience could result in a 30% price reduction for users versus what they could expect to pay at the same hotel through available OTA / Meta sources.

How it works: A wholesaler (e.g., Lmtclub.com, Amoma.com, GTA Travel or MetGlobal) is hired by the supplier (W Hotel SF) to boost occupancy through a promotions- based approach. In this specific example, our research discovered that the agreement occurred between W Hotel SF and Lmtclub.com (the wholesaler).

Get the full story at Evercore Equity Reserach (PDF 3.8 MB)