Travel Trends – Facebook v. Google, Google v. OTAs, #smtravel

Facebook Traffic Surpasses Google – Earlier this month, a variety of sources highlighted statistics that Facebook, at least according to Experian Hitwise, had surpassed Google (search only) in terms visitor traffic.  Overall, not exactly shocking, but perhaps another reminder that Facebook receives a substantial share of domestic internet traffic.  However this article from would lead you to believe that this represents a watershed moment for search tendencies.

I would say a watershed moment for Farmville, but search overall?  Not so fast.

Directly comparing Facebook to Google in terms of traffic is fine, but don’t let so called ‘experts’ convince you that we can also compare user intent between the two sites.  To use a very non-tech saying, it is like comparing apples to oranges.

At this point, I have yet to see any research or case study that shows consumers are using Facebook as a primary search tool.  Sure, they are searching for friends and info on American Idol, but considering that Google’s traffic share is not falling dramatically, I would venture to guess those same users are also looking to Google for a more familiar search experience.

Google Begins Testing Hotel Rates in Maps – To be honest, I am still unsure how to take Google’s announcement of adding rates to hotel-based searches via Google Maps. Consumer-focused or a money driven ad opportunity?  Good or evil? News or needless blogger filler?

While the repercussions of this ‘experiment’ are still to be seen, I do have two thoughts about this offering:

  1. Google is still a consumer-focused company.  Yes, they make revenue primarily via advertising sales.  And yes, they like to make our internet lives easier.  And they really like to combine both of those goals.
  2. Is there any other organization, online or off, that could create so much interest, joy, anger and attention with a 4 paragraph blog post?

For more opinion and thoughts about the Google Maps hotel project, may we recommend some light reading from a variety of colleagues:

Good times.

EyeforTravel’s Social Media Strategies Conference (#smtravel) – Finally, a quick look at the Social Media Strategy conference occurring in San Francisco this week.  So far, at least from the Twitter viewing area, it appears to be a pretty good conference.  Decent speakers, good topics and the ubiquitous conference quote that no one can actually back up with facts.

Social Media is like French food…you have no idea what you are eating, but you have been told its good.

Yeah, we just made that up.  Works pretty well, right?  Feel free to use that in an upcoming presentation, free of charge.  Hell, we are going to tweet that right now.  Let’s see what happens.

Okay, back to the conference.

If you have some free time during the day, or during your lunch break…let’s be honest, we all know you eat lunch at your desk…follow the conference via the Twitter hashtag #smtravel.

Or, take a look at the conference so far via a recap from the Hotel Marketing Strategies blog.  Nice summary Josiah.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.