There is soon going to be a major shift in the restaurant booking industry and how you make your reservations. You will notice that recently if you look for restaurants on Google, it will not show you any sponsored results on the front page. Rather Google Maps will appear with restaurants on it. This is definitely a bit surprising for the users.
Google Getting Involved in Booking
Google, which started out as a search engine, wasn’t really big on interacting with customers. Users were offered to find the restaurants through Google Maps. Then identify them using the search engine feature and finally classify them on the basis of their website performance, which is also known as Google Ranking. Google never really cared about the booking process and user experience. Google did buy Zagat a few years ago but it didn’t really come up with any successful business models.
So Google found restaurants but never really impacted the booking market. Because of this many platforms like TripAdvisor thrived, which were only meta-search platforms initially. Sites like TripAdvisor helped in shaping the restaurant industry using key features like review system and restaurant finder.
Driving Towards Google Maps
Now it seems like Google is focusing on driving most of its traffic in the way of Google Maps feature. You must be wondering how Google is benefitting from this when they already gained a lot from the Adwords budget that was implemented by the traditional booking companies. Google will offer a booking widget which will be a part of Google Maps. Restaurants will come up with questions like:
- How can the booking strategy be controlled on Google?
- What would be the procedure to promote one way of booking instead of another?
- What if the restaurants want to promote a different booking solution?
Most of the restaurants have doubts and they are seeking more information about this move from Google and how it will be in their benefit.
Partnerships with Booking Companies
Google will be developing open partnerships with booking companies in order to show them while the guest is booking a table. The competition between booking companies will get tough. Some companies will integrate all booking providers in one and benefit from that. Those who are smart enough to integrate this will win because they will be offering the users with more choices and a shorter user experience.
Changes in the Booking Industry
There have been a lot of things happening in the booking industry and it can often be a problem to follow it. The technologies used by booking industries are quite young compared to other industries. This will allow others like Google to come in and disrupt the market.
Google had a business model in place which encouraged companies to build their own metasearch in which restaurants will be paying for every booking that they receive from these channels. Google did the right thing by identifying this opportunity. Google has gained an understanding of how to build business models. Google is getting involved with big players. They will give an API that will allow restaurants to directly list their availabilities on Google.
Gathering in one place
Everyone is competing to get ahead of Google here. It becomes a problem for customers to go through these booking websites. Google can solve this problem by gathering all the restaurants in the same place and pull these websites out of the picture.
Opportunities for Smaller Companies
There can be two outcomes in this situation: There can be more quality content from these websites or they will do something completely new and unique. They will try to provide more personalized content. This is probably the only way they will survive in the new Google business model. These companies will also have to improve their loyalty or rewards programs. In addition to that, they will have to keep at giving a good user experience as well. Here the smaller companies can grab an opportunity by offering better business models.
There is also a possibility here that the big companies might not go out of the picture at all. Even after Google releases a new business model, the big companies might still survive and thrive. This is mainly because the big companies are usually too big to fail. They will slowly and gradually adapt to the new model and will still be a part of the game. Feel free to contact us if you have an app idea or want to develop an app for your business and need to hire developers for that.
Rajiv is one of the founders of Nimblechapps, a web and android game development company based out of India. At Nimblechapps he overlooks delivery, product development and often lends a hand to the in house development team. His personal interest include Travel, Food and Motorcycling.