I was thinking what if I ran the Troogleplex - Google’s burgeoning travel space. Would a memo to staff like this be leaked to a potentially terrified industry...
Hi there team,
Hope you are well. Thought it would be good to outline where we in the management team believe the travel division is heading, and the opportunities that are clearly now before us.
We are exceptional at what we do, but we need to move on, mature, think about what we can REALLY do.
First up - we need to drop this "do no evil thing"... Frankly, no one believes it any way.
So mission one is to be clear and unequivocal – no point in beating around the bush anymore. This also means all Google product people need to be better briefed when appearing at travel conferences.
But, more importantly, there are some things we need to do to give us the opportunity to assert our dominance in the travel category…. After all, that’s what it's all about - managing all travel information
We should start giving away some of the stuff we acquired from ITA Software - the secret sauce stuff that took so long to develop.
For example, we should give away, to any and every airline on the planet, the QPX and DACS (Dynamic Availability Calculating System), hopefully killing any other need for search tools (that should keep those sprightly Eastern Europeans from ever getting a foothold).
In return, airlines would only have to feed us real time and trusted information (that should put the skids under those silly metasearch companies).
I believe we should also put up some of our massive server capacity, so “power to the people” would let them hack at the servers without any worry - so searching on Google would never cost a dime and no one would worry (aren’t we nice?).
In fact, that should also keep all the mobile app players happy. Besides we would then know what they are all doing at all times.
We should also now really super-tune Google Instant (we know our great team can simply crush the Bing Instant wannabees). This would make the search process so fast and so easy. An home run on all other people who even think that they could get into search.
We are considering dumping that confusing CPC model for any airline who gets a booking following a lead through us.
Straight CPA at, say, $10. This should also put the shivers up the GDSs (over time we will slowly ratchet up the price for when our numbers look bad in other sectors). This should put about $4 billion directly into our revenue stream in the first full year. (Do the math people!!!)
However, we should keep the CPC model for the remaining OTA players. Remember, we need to soak up some of the other distribution dollars hanging around.
Besides, we need some competition just because it looks good on our monthly reports to show who exited and what it did to the Google stock price.
I think we should put some new things in the workflow as a result of getting the very welcome clearance from the Department of Justice over the ITA Software deal [thanks guys!]
Let’s do away with these really complex and confusing fare thingies… From now on, every day we will publish “Best Fare” for you.
It will become part of user's iGoogle pages and it will automatically appear on Android phones. Just in case they miss it, it will appear as the first banner on Gmail pages.
We will tell the airlines it has to be bookable immediately - or within a specific timeframe - or else we will punish them by letting their page rank will drop.
At the moment, airlines and OTA technically own the customer and are stuck with the cost of doing any call outs etc.
But, remember, Google knows about every trip the customer takes and when they choose not to travel with their preferred airline, so we could even estimate an individual’s price sensitivty over time, based on how much of a price difference it takes for him or her to not fly the preferred airline and not get frequent flyer points (see more on this below).
Furthermore, since Google pretty much understands when anyone is about to close the sale of an airline seat, we could effectively sell this intelligence to hotels and car companies to try and cut the airline or OTA from getting the ancillary revenue (that should keep the airlines profits down so they are even more dependent on us).
Now, more about apps. Let's build one. It will be multi-airline, and we can sell even more ads when users travel because we know the context of a trip based on how many people and whether it is spouse or children in the passenger details page (it went into the PNR) and then these in-location ads served to the phone will command a much higher price as only they can put together location and context.
No airline individual mobile app will have a hope of competing with that (in your face, Apple!).
Finally, we should consider creating a new currency called Gollars. This should put Points.com out of business. Gollars should be exchangeable on a specific basis with airline frequent flyer points.
We will then put up a whole new Gollars Store where you can buy anything with Gollars.
Every day we will adjust the exchange rates to reflect our feelings towards a particular vendor. First to sign up, we reckon, will be Expedia, since Thank You points was such a bust.
We should also create a new daily site called TOOT.com (mental note: must get domain guys to snap it up), where totally distressed travel merchandise can be sold.
Since we know everything about users and their friends, there is actually no need for Facebook to tell the rest of the world what you they doing – we can also do that for users.
Consumer trip itineraries will be made available for a user's friends for free, but others will have to pay for it.
That should kill Tripit and all those itinerary guys. Besides, why let some other person get involved in workflow.
Our top secret travel strategy team, which has met once a week for about six months, believes order should have returned to the market within one year.
Once normailty resumes, we can start getting back to the cool stuff we are more famous for - projects already under development include Google Goggles on planes, streaming Google News, YouTube and Google TV to in-flight entertainment systems.
Think about it, everyone - the possibilities are endless.
I would like you all to consider the contents of this email (but don't tell those prying folks in the media or your favourite travel contacts) ahead of our global brainstorm at Vail, Colorado in December.
Any questions, just give me a call or reply to this message.