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Google moves to ease hotel bookings by smartphone

April 11, 2014 Headline News, OTA News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Search-engine behemoth Google is spending some of its almost unlimited money supply on technology to let people book hotel rooms from their smartphones.

The company is adding more photos and reviews to its listings and has struck a deal with a search-engine company called room 77, which claims online: “We search dozens of booking sites and hundreds of thousands of hotels to find you the right place to stay.” Room 77 is a start-up backed by Expedia. http://www.tourismlegal.com.au/

According to Bloomberg news service, Google has now licensed Room 77’s hotel booking software. Room 77 will distribute “tens of millions of excess cash” to investors while still “maintaining its brand, websites, mobile applications, patents’ and other technology in the deal”. It is not an acquisition, therefore, but seems to resemble one.

Room 77 is focussing meanwhile on building up CheckMate, which it bought last year to help hotels manage mobile booking.

Searchengineland.com, a site which reports on (as the name suggests) search engines, says that room 77 is a travel metasearch site like Kayak, “only better in my experience,” according to a contributing editor. Unlike Kayak, however, room 77 focuses exclusively on lodging.

Google bought travel software company ITA several years ago for USD 700 million but has yet to emerge as a force in online travel.

Instead, it has done things like moving into hotel booking graphics and military robots. Late last year, Best Western International became the first chain to adopt Google Business Photos for all 2200 of its North American hotels. Google Business Photos consists of 360-degree tours powered by Google Street technology.

Google also bought the military robot company Boston Dynamics, which makes the fearsome BigDog rough-terrain quadruped robot that walks, runs, climbs and carries heavy loads.

Back on the travel front, according to Searchengineland.com the US Commerce Department estimates total US travel industry revenues reached approximately USD 1.3 trillion in 2010 (the most recent year for which figures are available). Lodging represented 16% of that total or roughly USD 208 billion. Travel industry monitor PhoCusWright estimated 31% of all US hotel room reservations in 2012 were made online.

Written by : Peter Needham

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