Google confirmed Monday that it will acquire the travel assets of publisher John Wiley & Sons. The Frommer brand, known for its series of travel guidebooks and hotel reviews, likely will roll out in Zagat and Google Local services. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Reviews will play a major part in search engine rankings and content, as data from social and recommendations continues to have a stronger influence on query results, rather than mathematical algorithms.
Google will likely tie in data from its ITA Software acquisition, and Maps should support the ability to pinpoint and call up nearby businesses depending on locations.
Macquarie Securities Analyst Tom White calls Google's travel industry plans "unclear," noting that Frommer is "a well-known and respected brand in travel reviews, most well-known for its hard-copy/offline destination guides."
Search engine marketers need to gain an understanding of social content and recommendations. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Internet users -- about 119.5 million people -- will research travel information online, compared with 107 million in 2010, according to eMarketer.
That will prompt the U.S. leisure and travel industry to increase online ad spend to reach consumers looking for transportation, and places to stay and eat.
eMarketer estimates put the increased ad spend by the travel industry at 23.3% to $3.1 billion in 2012, representing 8% of all digital ad dollars spent this year in the U.S.
Online travel sales should reach $119 billion in the U.S. in 2012 -- up from $107 billion in 2011 -- as more than half of U.S. Internet users book travel online this year. That figure is up from 48% in 2010, according to eMarketer. By 2016, travel sales booked online will reach $152 billion.