Google to Acquire Frommer’s
It’s been less than a year since Google acquired Zagat, and the search giant is already taking swift steps to purchase another respected source of travel information – Frommer’s travel-guide. This is notable because Zagat and Frommer’s are both in the business of offering readers professionally written content. This recent business venture indicates Google is banking on having its Google+ Local service be the leading source of travel and local business information on the web.
Google is definitely not shy about its interest in the travel industry, which makes sense considering that there was a total of $812.9 billion in travel expenditures within the US.
What’s more, according to a study conducted this year (2012) by Google and an independent marketing research company, Ipsos MediaCT, 96% of leisure travelers start their hotel planning with search. Google’s been following travelers’ online behavior for years now; back in 2010, its survey of 5,000 travelers showed that the internet was the leading resource for hotel research and hotel booking.
It’s no wonder that Google is placing so much value on travel information. With this acquisition, it will soon own ALL of Frommer’s content, which includes its brand, hundreds of travel guide books, consumer reviews and ratings for hotels, and more. By incorporating Zagat’s and Frommer’s already branded and trusted content into its Google+ Local listings, Google will boost local search offerings giving it an advantage over related websites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor in search results.
This goes to show that businesses in the hotel & restaurant industry would be wise to become more involved with social media and local SEO, especially after seeing Google’s recent focus on the travel vertical.