We’re on the cusp of a really interesting shift in the way the travel industry works. In this graphic story we take a look at the current landscape, and whether Google and Facebook (and even Amazon) are poised to shake it up.

Google means business. Despite saying it has no ambitions to become an online travel agent, it’s getting closer and closer to the customer at the point of purchase – and it thinks it can do the job better.

Facebook is getting in on the act, too.

It launched Trip Consideration earlier this year to help travel companies “reach people before they’ve decided where to travel”.

“Facebook is already a major gateway for travel bookings and its advertising platform is quickly starting to swallow hotel marketing budgets whole. Let’s be clear: The financial and marketing clout of these companies outstrips that of the entire hotel industry taken together, by magnitudes.”


Amazon, too, is sniffing around – its short-lived Amazon Destinations proved that it is, at least, interested in the market.

So – what are the facts?

Are Google and Facebook happy enough being traffic sources – or is the pie too good to pass up? Here are a few reasons they might take on the OTAs:

Reason 1: their product works

Google Hotel Ads increased return on ad spend by 10.1x in 2017, edging out TripAdvisor at 10x.

68% of millennials found ideas for their most recent trip on Facebook, and the same is true for 60% of millennials on Instagram

“The travel industry is not keeping up with travelers’ expectations.”

Rob Torres, MD Travel, Google

Reason 2: they’ve got the resources

Here’s what the market looks like:

But aren’t we forgetting somebody?

Let’s add them in:

“The Google travel business could be worth as much as $100 billion or 15 percent of Google’s $650 billion market cap. This would be comparable to — but larger than — Priceline’s current value of $91 billion.”


Reason 3: they’re better poised to serve the modern traveller

The big tech companies have the data, and they’re not afraid to use it:

“’Based on a user’s Facebook, Instagram or Audience Network behavior, Facebook determines a desire to travel and delivers those users to brands.’”

Noreen Henry, CEO, WayBlazer

‘Travel is an important vertical for us. People use many of our products such as Search, Google Maps and Google Photos for travel.”

Oliver Heckmann, VP Travel and Shopping, Google

As the travel industry changes, Google (and to a certain degree, Facebook) is in the best position to adapt to the consumer because, in most cases, it’s the first port of call.

As travellers rely more on their phones to make bookings, the companies that already take up smartphone real estate are poised to win. For most, that’s Google and Facebook. What will the future hold?

Will travel companies survive the big tech 'boogeymen'?