Google moves to strengthen travel socmed offering with Frommer’s buyout

Travel guides producer Frommer’s is to be sold to Google for a reported $25 million.

On Monday the Wall Street Journal first reported news of the deal which has since been confirmed by both sides although they would not confirm the price tag.

Frommer’s owner Wiley & Sons indicated in March it was looking to sell its travel guide book interest saying it no longer aligned with its long-term strategy.

Google said the move to buy Frommer’s was part of its strategy to provide its users with a review for every relevant place in the world.

The move will alarm come in the travel industry that sees Google as a potential threat as it moves into producing more of its own content rather than directing online shoppers to relevant websites.

The price paid for Frommer’s, if the reports are accurate, is dwarfed by the £125 million the BBC paid for the Lonely Planet guidebook publisher, that deal having been completed in February 2011.

Frommer’s, which produces 300 guide books, was set up in 1957 when founder Aurthur Frommer published his first guidebook ‘Europe on $5 a day’.

The hard copy books will continue to be published in the near future, Google confirmed, but Frommer’s will be integrated into Zagat, the restaurant review firm Google bought a year ago, and could go digital only.

A Google spokesman said: “The Frommer’s team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team. We can’t wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world.”

For Google the move is being seen as further bid to strengthen its position not only in the travel space but in social media against its main rival Facebook through its Google+ network.

Zagat reviews have already been incorporated into the network’s local business listings as Google looks for more advertising revenue from suppliers in the sector.

As well as producing guide books and online guides, Frommer’s also syndicates out its content to third parties through its Frommer’s Unlimited arm.


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