Emil Martinsek, GetYourGuide
"It’s my hope that we all remain focused on our shared opportunity to open the world’s travel experiences for everyone."
Quote from Emil Martinsek, chief marketing officer of GetYourGuide, in a story on PhocusWire this week about living in happy co-existence with Google.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered on our site that week.
Google has always pretended to be everybody's friend when it comes to working with travel brands.
Over the years, however, the "don't be evil" slogan that the search giant was happy to be associated with in its early days, has became a bit of a misnomer when it comes to the ecosystem that it now operates in.
Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, as well as other online travel agencies, have continually highlighted the increasingly tense relationship that now exists - one which sees brands throwing billions of dollars in Google's direction at the same time as it ramps up its operations in travel.
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GetYourGuide's chief marketing officer sees Google through the same prism of being a good partner (Reserve With Google, etc) and a threat.
"We’re aware of how quickly Google can move from close partnerships toward a less collaborative orientation," he says.
Some might argue that the threat to those that have had the ability to sell tours and activities to themselves is now actually closer than ever.
The closure of the Touring Bird app a few months ago was not the sign of failure in Google's strategy in that sector but another piece in the jigsaw falling to place.
Touring Bird was originally a place for intermediaries such as GetYourGuide, TripAdvisor, Klook et al to distribute their tickets to attractions and activities that they aggregated on behalf of suppliers.
That model doesn't change in the short-term, now that they sit within the wider Google Travel platform.
But the question that came up a lot during 2018 and was batted back halfheartedly, when Touring Bird was finding its feet, was always whether Google would rather get direct connections with suppliers will soon come into sharp relief.
The efforts of the sector as a whole, to get suppliers of all shapes and sizes connected to distribution channels, is going as well as can be expected for a market that is extremely fragmented and incredibly diverse.
But it is only a question of time before Google seeks to build out an ecosystem in tours and activities that mirrors its efforts in hotels and flights.
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