Booking.com just announced something amazing

The growth of mobile So, I don’t normally cover press releases, but this one’s worth mentioning:Priceline subsidiary Booking.com reported late last week that their mobile booking revenue tripled last year. Which would be impressive, until you consider that it tripled to $3 billion from $1 billion in 2011. That’s billion. With a “b.”

Um… wow.

I gave a talk this morning to a group of travel and hospitality companies about how big mobile’s going to be. And I referenced items like the growth of the millennial market, how to handle the iOS/Android debate, and all that jazz. But, by any standard, those are some impressive results. I’m thinking there might be something to this mobile web business after all.

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Inside Google’s 2012 Traveler “Road to Decision”

Just a heads-up that I’ve taken a look at Google’s 2012 Traveler “Road to Decision” Presentation over on the main blog.

Loads of good takeaways. For instance, the report (and my analysis), looks at:

  • Travelers continuing desire to define value. This was a big topic of my presentations to NGCOA and to HEDNA earlier this year.
  • How leisure and business travelers prioritize search differently. This is new. In the past the differences between leisure and business were fairly minimal.
  • How mobile is driving increased search query growth.
  • Significant growth in both leisure (38%) and business (57%) traveler mobile access to travel information on the Internet.

Plus a whole lot more. Check it out.

“The Transparent Web: Using Online Marketing to Optimize Pricing Power” presentation update

Just a quick update: I spoke to the National Golf Course Owners Association earlier this week about online marketing, distribution and pricing transparency on “The Transparent Web.” You can read a full write-up plus check out the slides from my presentation over at the main blog. Enjoy!

Airlines force OTA’s out of Google Flight Search? Anti-competitive, much?

Something remarkable happened at PhoCusWright a couple of weeks ago. According to Travel Weekly,

“When Google’s vice president of travel, Jeremy Wertheimer, stepped on stage at the PhoCusWright conference here two weeks ago, he surprised many in the audience with his explanation as to why Google’s Flight Search results do not include links to online travel agencies.

If they did, Wertheimer said, the airlines would not participate.

“The airlines said, ‘We will not give you content if you provide booking links to OTAs,’” Wertheimer told the audience.”

I’ve written before about FairSearch and what it means for most businesses. And, while I’m not a huge fan of government oversight of individual businesses, nor, frankly, a huge fan of some OTA business practices, this level of coordination among the airlines and Google reeks of anticompetitive behavior. Actually, it just plain reeks, period.

While Google faces increasing competition for search from apps and mobile tools like Siri (see the Roger McNamee video), for better or worse, Google still represents the guide to the Internet for many people. And a guide that deliberately excludes some content providers due to competitive pressure from other content providers is no guide at all. As more details emerge around deals such as these, Google risks not only the wrath of regulators, but also diminished trust from consumers and businesses.

In other words, whether it’s antitrust or declining trust, Google and the airlines are playing a losing game. I’d expect to see FairSearch and others challenge this move in the very near term and the repercussions to continue for some time to come.