Google begins UK tests of package comparison in Distribute Travel partnership

Google begins UK tests of package comparison in Distribute Travel partnership

Google has started to test a new package holidays product having teamed up with Distribute Travel in the UK.

The new vertical search has been available to a slice of the search engine’s users since the beginning of the year.

A similar tie-up with Peakwork in Germany will see the service rolled out in Europe’s biggest market for package holidays.

Travolution revealed last September that Google was setting its sights on packages, a sector that remains particularly resilient in Europe’s biggest travel markets, the UK and Germany.

At the time Richard Holden, Google vice-president product management, admitted packages was not something the search giant “understood well”.

“Europe is a very big market,” he said. “There is certainly a consumer desire [for packages] and there is a lot of decision-making challenges for understanding all that information.

“At the end of the day consumers want choice and flexibility. We can play a big role in the distribution of packages that already exist and create a better dynamic packaging market.

“Customers want to know what the trade offs are. There is not great comparison shopping out there in the package holiday space.”

Ruairidh Roberts, industry head at Google, told the latest Travel Weekly Business Breakfast hosted in the search engine’s new King Cross offices in London the package product offers the ability to search for combined flight and hotel deals.

He said Google was currently exposing the package comparison product on a percentage of mobile queries and was also looking to include pre-packaged holiday deals in the future.

Distribute Travel provides live pricing and availability data and personalisation and targeting services for online travel advertising and marketing.

It claims to have handled nearly 19 million API requests over the last 28 days, at up to 141 per second in the last 14 days from a cache of over seven billion deals.

It has integrated with some of the major players in the UK mainstream beach holiday sector such as OTAs Teletext Holidays and On The Beach and Tui-owned tour operator Thomson.

A spokesman said: “Historically there hasn’t been much innovation in presenting package deals to customers and finding relevant and good deals can be a minefield.

“A big stumbling block to innovation has been the limited number of suppliers able to make their data available and at the capacity needed to showcase enhanced functionality.

“Distribute Travel is working with Google to help OTAs and tour operators deliver pricing into the new search and handle the peaks in load.

“Our technology works with source data, or collects live pricing direct from suppliers’ websites without scraping, which ensures accuracy is as close as possible

“The Distribute platform contains billions of pricing records with the flexibility to offer services that deliver highly personalised deals and package prices into all key online channels.”

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