Tourism, Bowen Island and other stuff that comes to mind

Google Tourism
June 4, 2008, 5:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Google takes on Destination Marketing
June 2, 2008
In a post last week in Business Week, Catherine Holahan talks about an interview she did with Rob Torres, Google’s managing director for Travel where she gets the skinny on Google’s plans for the “$90+ billion global travel ad and sales market. Google has set its sights on Travel Destinations as a revenue opportunity.

As Holahan outlines in her article, Google is trying to take back control of the “advertising” opportunities around what is now primarily user-generated content posted by the general public to the leading video sharing site

Google’s Rob Torres says, “the goal of Google’s travel division (aside from generating revenue!) is to give users a destination where they can research travel plans, read user reviews, and see user uploaded videos and photos…already, about 50% of travelers use some sort of online social media site to research their plans…why not give them a one-stop shop for travel information.”

So Google’s quest is to “help” travel destinations and the associations and tourism boards that run them by helping them distribute canned and “advertorial” web video spots, on – and then lead users to other content including paid search ads, instead of encouraging advertisers to purchase ads around user generated content.

Check out the example that Holahan refers to in the article – New Zealand, which to date has had 884,621 views! In addition, they have posted 40 other videos to YouTube. Currently when you do a search in for the term “New Zealand” the top result is the destination’s promotional video – not the user generated videos posted by users.

According to Marion Edward in “Mouth/Mouse: Social Networking and the Travel Industry, “YouTube has already grown to serve more than 100 million video views per day and is receiving more than 65,000 video uploads daily…with a user base ranging from 18-49, spanning all geographies.”

There are however tourism destinations already actively posting videos to YouTube and other video sharing sites such as Yahoo! Video,, and, but user generated content seems to still be the most watched videos. I am sure that Google will make some changes to the algorithms that uses to serve up search results. This medium then becomes less of a social network and more a “pay to play” advertising vehicle.

My take? Google wants to make sure that they are capitalizing on the revenue opportunity the You presents – which is fairly minimal if destinations are simply advertising in conjunction with user generated content, and many are not yet comfortable with that. Advertisers seem to still want “control” over the message and have not fully embraced “endorsing” or accepting the reality of user generated content and reviews, and the role they now play in the buying cycle of travel.

“Fueling Google’s travel plans is consumers move to researching and booking vacations online… In 2007, more travel sales were booked online than in person”, says Google’s Rob Torres. “That means travel marketers, many of whom already spend millions on search ads and the like, will likely shift more of their budgets to the Web…rather than try to convince travel marketers to advertise on user-generated videos, they can sell sponsored destination pages on YouTube where travel marketers can post their own videos and influence or control what types of content users upload. Then Google can also sell other forms of advertising, such as search ads, to drive traffic to the site.”

Will users who consume embrace an advertising message over user generated content? Is there room for both? I guess we will see!

Author: Alicia Whalen
Organization: A Couple of Chicks E-Marketing


Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: