Google has acquired Frommers (http://www.frommers.com/) , a travel guidebook company established in 1957. Frommers originally existed to provide American citizens a handy “how-to” guide of travelling around Europe. But by continuing to appeal to a travel audience, Frommers diversified and created a library of travel books and guides for the most popular destinations aroud the world. The company has enjoyed massive growth and the book publisher has recorded more than 80 million books sold. So why has Google decided to acquire Frommers?
Frommers digital landscape
By buillding a loyal base of readers and more importantly a library of authoritative content, this has propelled their online proposition as a hub for travel content, especially within Google. According to www.opensiteexplorer.org, the website enjoys a Domain Authority of 88/100, meaning Frommers is well recognised in providing trust-worthy content. Being an authority source of content is supported by the volume of other websites linking to www.frommers.com for relevant content, including www.nytimes.com, www.huffingtonpost.com, www.yahoo.com, www.bbc.co.uk, www.cnn.com and www.guardian.co.uk. Frommers also enjoy an active voice through social media channels such as twitter where they boast 250k followers and a content-rich Google+ account which includes video and content based information on key travel and tourist locations.
Keyword reseach suggets Frommers benefits from a number of non-branded search terms which drive traffic volumes from search engines especially long-tail keywords around popular tourist destinations and landmarks - this emphasises the degree of authority the website has created within their niche sector.
4 Reasons for the Google Acquisition
1) Google Flights - an online booking portal to cater for internal flight searches for example in the US. Users can plan a flight on a chosen day, week or month, choose their preferred airline through an integrated flight search engine and purchase their chosen tickets. As quoted from Travel Tech consulting: "The most visible enhancement in this new interface is the instant loading of fares and schedules when you enter the city pairs. The ability to launch flights from the standard Google box which leads you to the flight page ties general search to flight specific schedules and pricing in a way that we have not seen before. Other features such as using a map to locate flights based on a budget from your specific city and the calendar view to look at when cheap flights are available are also delivered instantaneously".
2) Local Search – According to a recent local search article on Tech Crunch, 20% of Google searches were local (40% on mobile) and due to the significant impact local search plays in Google activity, there were significant changes made to the position of local search results within the SERPS. In late 2011, local search results were given prominence within the results pages providing more page 1 coverage for local results. For travel based search results for local destinations, this offers a great opportunity to integrate content, especially from a user generated content through Frommers content.
3) Content – Driving fresh, authority, industry leading content to your website can be regarded as king when it comes to creating a successful content strategy for your product or service. Frommers brings a wealth of authority, trust working content on the travel sector for both destinations, hotels and ideas for travel.
4) Google Verticals – This is an opportunity for Google to utilise exisiting verticals to integrate Frommers in providing the integration of travel content to enriching exisiting services such as Google Weather (e.g. promote specific weather forecasts to global desticnations), Google flights (e.g. Before booking your flight, check out some relevant local travel information) – weather being one of the key referral terms to booking a holiday, researching a travel destination – example?
What's the end game?
To monopolise the online travel sector? This could well be Google's end game = Google provides a platform for reach & Frommers provides a platform of authority content.
The continued growth in local search trends and the appetite for travel provides a platform for Google to potentially monopolise the search vertical for travel. This aquisition provides an opportunity for the search engine to embed Frommers within Google Flights, Weather and Books for example and provide enriched content to drive search volumes.
For travel sector online operators such as Kayak.com and Tripadvisor.com it can be seen as a threat and Google's response to grab a sizeable chunk of the travel sector revenue.
I posted an article on this SEO forum sharing some insights into working for a start-up during my career in digital marketing, I hope you find some time to take a read. The post focuses on some of the key skills acquired and the day to day activities I was involved in such as setting up a partnership program, building external relationships with suppliers and agencies - it should provide some inspiration to you that working for a start up is sound career advice.
It provided me with a really good overview of how a business is run - something I believe is a key skill to have working in digital marketing, to be able to demonstrate a well-rounded compliment of skills. But most importantly, it gave me some life-skills I still use to this day:
- Think creatively - There was no large marketing budget to fall back on, there is no marketing agency at your beckoning call and usually there are a number of larger competitors operating in your sector.
- Learn to fail - You can't stand still in a start-up, you have to keep on pushing yourself and the company in not being afraid to try something different, putting something out there in the market that maybe, this time it's going to connect. If you fail you fail, dust yourself off and get back on it again - but it didn't stop me from dusting myself off and trying again, not giving up.
- Hustle - Whether negotiating over-ride fees with affiliate programs, learning to always get a deal on commission rates - just so you can say to yourself that you've gone that extra mile for your business to drive a better margin.
- Adapt your skills - You need to dive straight in and acquire as much knowledge as you can across the organisation.
- Teach - In a start-up it was common that the business may not have the time (or budget) for you to take a week off on a distance learning digital marketing course, you had to teach yourself on the job, read industry blogs and forum and apply your knowledge. At the same time, it is important you give the time to train up staff in the company.
- Ship - not being afraid to push the button on your new affiliate promotion, website deal, email campaign etc etc - Whatever it is, making sure you are continuing to deliver and to continue to raise the bar.
At some stage in your career work for a start-up, the wealth of experience you can learn is unlimited. Getting yourself involved in a real business where you need to make real decisions that constantly puts you in a challenging environment is second to none. As the latest university leavers begin their search for their first job, I would recommend ignoring graduate schemes and perhaps think more laterally by getting yourself involved in a small business, a business that's going to be able to provide you with a wealth of experience on how an organisation makes decisions from the board and how it impacts the day to day running. Hope you get a chance to read my post
In the current economic climate, it's pleasing to read a lot of positive press focused on the growth in the creation of start-ups, people taking the initiative and launching their own ventures. According to an article by real business, during 2011, there were 396,000 start-ups created compared to 362,000 in 2010. In reply to this growing trend, http://www.startups.co.uk/ has been launched as a resource to starting in business.