Since it caused a stir in the online travel community with the $700 million acquisition of flight software company ITA in 2010, search giant Google has been a little quiet on the travel industry front.
The launch of its Hotel Finder site in 2011 failed to set the world alight and the company, which dominates in other key areas, has remained a secondary player in online hotel bookings.
But this could be about to change, with Google revealing its latest move into the area with the licencing of technology from Room 77.
The hotel-booking platform based in Mountain View, California, will allow Google to provide customers with quick access to hotel metasearch, enabling them to book rooms with a few simple clicks.
In an attempt to catch up with rivals such as the Priceline Group and Expedia, the metasearch technology will be built into the search engine’s existing travel services.
The start-up will keep operating its “brand, websites, mobile applications, patents,” independent of Google.
Calvin Yang, who is presently chief technology officer at Room 77, and a number of employees from the engineering team will, however, be joining Google.
Room 77 chief executive Drew Patterson will remain in position.
In the United States alone, travel and tourism spending totalled $450 billion last year, according to figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council, and this is expected to grow 3.5 per cent this year.
With the deal Google hopes it will be able to take a bigger slice of this cake, as travel moves online and into the mobile sphere.
The Room 77 deal will see the search giant include more photos and reviews to its hotel listings
It is hoped this will encourage travellers to plan more trips directly through Google, rather than being directed to third parties.
Google hopes this will also encourage more hotel operators to place ads on Google directly, bypassing online travel agencies.