LOS ANGELES -- Google is continuing to bolster its hotel
booking platform, while concurrently claiming that it's not chasing after OTA
On stage at the Phocuswright Conference here, Google vice
president of product management Richard Holden said that the tech giant would
launch hotel booking capability on its voice-activated Google Assistant product
later this month, a move in line with Google's slow but steady encroachment on
"Voice is impressive," said Holden. "In terms
of growth overall, 50% of our traffic is on mobile today, and 20% of that is on
voice and growing rapidly."
While Google Assistant is closely associated with the Google
Home device, Holden reminded the audience that the virtual assistant can be
enabled across a variety of device types, including mobile phones.
"With travel, we're very focused on the phone, because
we think having the screen is an important part of the information flow that's
coming back to the consumer," he said, adding that Google Assistant is
currently enabled on more than 500 million devices.
Meanwhile, Holden denied that Google was actively trying to
become an OTA through its Book on Google product, which allows a consumer to
book with a hotel, airline or intermediary without leaving the Google
"We're focused on driving value," he explained. "We're
not about trying to create customer engagement in the OTA space. We're engaged
in trying to deliver the customer to that OTA at the end of the day. "We
focus on [Book on Google] first and foremost because we think it drives
conversion rate for our partners. I think there's been some confusion about the
product and some confusion about the name. You could call it 'facilitated
booking.' At the end of the day, it's about ultimately getting that consumer
through that process more quickly."