As highlighted by our post last week, the Internet continues to have a significant impact on the growth and evolution of the travel industry. This week, we cover a story that exemplifies this impact, as search engine giant Google announced its acquisition of the Frommer’s brand of travel guides.
According to the New York Times, the deal is worth about $23 million, and will likely integrate Frommer’s guidebook series – including reviews of hotels, activities, attractions, and destinations – in the same way that Zagat, a restaurant ratings and reviews company, was integrated to Google+ Local, the search engine’s new review and recommendation service.
“We can’t wait to start working with them (Frommer’s) on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world,” said a spokesperson from Google, who added that the Frommer’s staff “will be a great addition to the Zagat team.”
Frommer’s was founded in 1957 by travel writer and consumer advocate Arthur Frommer. Its travel guidebook series have since expanded to include over 350 titles, 14 series, 3500 destinations, and the popular Frommers.com website, an award-winning online travel guide. Frommer’s also hosts mobile apps, but soon all of its consumer print and digital publishing assets in travel will belong to Google.
Industry observers believe that Google will not only leverage Frommer’s ability to generate content and data about local businesses and travel destinations around the world (thus boosting its Google+ Local listings and Local Guides); it will also work towards becoming a travel review aggregator and source of expert ratings and recommendations, much like Yelp and TripAdvisor.