Skift Take

Google's attractions ticket beta has been among its least elegant in travel to date. This has angered many tour operators because it couldn't have come at a more inopportune time.

Series: Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Executive Editor and online travel rockstar Dennis Schaal will bring readers exclusive reporting and insight into the business of online travel and digital booking, and how this sector has an impact across the travel industry.

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Online Travel This Week In what might be Google's most glitchy product implementation in travel to date, its public beta of offering tickets to major attractions and landmarks has been derided by some tour operators and tech companies, while even a self-described Google fan pointed to its shortcomings. On mobile devices when searching for the New York's Empire State Building, for instance, Google scapes the landmark's website to offer $42 tickets for adults to enter the 86th floor observatory, and then also compares that price and product with a somewhat dissimilar $45 skip-the-line online tickets from the likes of Headout, Viator and GetYourGuide, as well as $125 tickets from China's Trip.com. Such disparities and disconnects are rife in others of the thousands of attractions' tickets Google is currently offering around the world. It turns out the $125 Trip.com ticket for the Empire State Building is a "premium ticket" to observe sunset in the observatory so it is hardly comparable to the ticket from the official attraction website, let alone the skip-the-line tickets from a half-dozen online travel agencies. One Google partner working to connect tour operators with the Google Things to Do product, called the quality issues with the beta, including a link for the Intrepid Air &a