RocketRez customers will soon be eligible to list their Tour or Attraction on the Google Things To Do search page to take advantage of activity search traffic.
After the Google decision to wind down the Reserve with Google application, many Tour and Attraction operators were curious what would come next, and how it would affect their search discoverability and online booking flow. Here is a brief history of the update and what it means for key stakeholders in the industry.
Exit Reserve with Google
Reserve with Google is the module Google created that allowed searchers to book an activity directly from the Google My Business listing for any given Tour or Attraction. Since Google search is by far the largest referrer of web traffic on the internet, this was a closely watched product for operators.
Reserve with Google produced a “Buy Tickets” button creating a seamless buying flow where customers would never leave the search engine. On the back end, customers would complete their booking through an Online Travel Agency (OTA) connected booking flow or an approved Ticketing and Reservation Technology provider connecting on behalf of their tour or attraction customer. While simple in theory, this created a few adverse conditions in practice.
Operators spend money on Google ads and search engine optimization primarily to sell direct to customers. By inserting OTAs into the process to complete the transaction, operators lose control of their Channel Management Strategy and are forced to pay OTA commissions on their hard earned Google bookings.
After much debate, on August 1, 2021, Reserve with Google will be discontinued.
Enter Google Things To Do
The new model will function as an aggregator of activities based on search and follow a similar path of Google hotel and flight products.
In this comprehensive article, Arival shared a few key points about the new service that may be of interest to operators:
- The new system allows customers to compare many options on one screen.
- Links from the Things To Do page will revert back to OTAs or approved Ticketing and Reservation technologies. Individual operators’ Google My Business page will default link back directly to their website, or any OTA or ResTech provider of their choosing.
- The links will begin on a free model, but shift over time to preferred placement by paid ads, much like Google search ads.
- Their recent activity is an indicator that Google Travel is working toward building a large referral engine within Tours and Attractions. This will be a product to watch over the next several years.
Stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for more information to come!