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.