The travel industry has traditionally hosted some of the largest online advertisers that ever made use of Google's global advertising network. According to most surveys, ads promoting travel agencies pay off and in today's age of highly targeted advertising, that statement is probably more true now than ever before. After all, if you're able to pay for ads promoting your highly luxurious and expensive travel arrangements exclusively to people living highly luxurious and expensive lives – wouldn't you? Following that train of thought, it's not hard to understand why Google has traditionally been making a lot of money from ads paid for by the travel industry.
That harmonious relationship is now experiencing some issues as the Mountain View-based tech giant is invading the tourism sector's home turf, both directly and indirectly. Speaking at the Phocuswright Conference held in Los Angeles last week, the CEO and co-founder of a largely successful travel agency Kayak described Google as "annoying." In fact, he was quite blunt in stating that "annoying" is the first word that springs to mind when he thinks of Google. Hafner isn't the only influential individual in the travel industry expressing some degree of aversion towards Google, Bloomberg reports. The Mountain View Internet firm didn't make any friends in the tourism industry when it launched Google Trips in September, but that's not the only complaint its largest advertisers have about company's recent activities.
More specifically, Google recently introduced Destinations, a Google Search feature which acts as an online travel guide within the company's search engine. Residents of some countries can even book flights and hotels directly from Google. Not surprisingly, the tourism industry isn't thrilled with that fact as online travel agencies obviously prefer customers to book their lodgings and means of transportation through them and collect a cut of related fees. While industry experts theorize that Google may be invading the online travel market in order to collect more data for its digital assistants to use, it doesn't seem likely that some of the company's largest advertisers care about that or any other reasoning. In other words, they're losing revenue streams due to Google's strategy even though the Mountain View-based company repeatedly stated that it's not interested in becoming an online travel agent. In fact, that's precisely what Google argued in front of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) two years ago when most major travel agencies vouched for it.
So, if these tensions keep increasing, it's possible that many of Google's largest advertisers from the tourism sector like Priceline and Expedia will retaliate by redirecting more funds towards Facebook's advertising platform. As the Internet firm would probably prefer to prevent that from happening, it will be interesting to see how Google will balance the happiness of its advertisers with its growing travel-related ambitions.