Skift Take

We web scraped 5,000 hotels across Google to understand the current state of the wider distribution landscape. We found that Google's actions are allowing small OTAs, new entrants and direct sites to compete head-on with the legacy players. Could this mean the end of the duopolistic power long-held by Booking and Expedia?

Our latest Skift Research report delves into the Google Hotels platform through extensive data scraping, using AI-powered and customized Python scripts to amass data from over 5,000 hotel listings in the U.S.

The primary objective was to understand the display mechanisms for hotels on Google, the involvement of online travel agencies, and evaluate whether Google is enabling direct bookings to compete with intermediaries such as Booking and Expedia.

This analysis was driven by Google’s ascent in the booking funnel in recent years, overshadowing other metasearch engines and prompting consideration of its potential disruption of the legacy OTAs. 

The introduction of free organic listings by Google Hotels in March 2021 marked a significant shift, leading to heightened market fragmentation and increased price competition. This has challenged the established duopoly of Booking and Expedia and in turn is seeing a democratization of the online travel marketplace, ripe for new entrants to make their mark.

What You’ll Learn From This Report

  • Google’s impact on the hotel distribution landscape, particularly how it is democratizing the OTA market by creating increased competition and disruption to the ranks of long-held market share.
  • Unique and proprietary analysis based on web scraping of over 5,000 U.S. hotels across Google…
  • …in order to understand how hotels are listed on Google, which OTAs are bidding for bookings and whether Google is aiding direct bookings to compete more head-on with the online intermediaries.

This report focused on U.S. hotel distribution and is Part I of our web-scraping series on Google Travel. In Part II of the series, we will consider a global perspective by comparing key metrics and attributes of U.S. hotel distribution across other regions of the world, such as Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Stay tuned for more.

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This is the latest in a series of research reports, analyst sessions, and data sheets aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

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Tags: booking, direct booking, expedia, Google Hotels, hotel distribution, skift research

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