A Different View of Google “Shutting Down” Reserve with Google
Google’s new offering will follow a continuum of product evolution and enhancement
Yesterday you may have caught wind of news about Google shutting down its Reserve with Google ticket booking feature. Since Redeam works directly with Google to provide real-time connectivity for operators, we have been aware of changes Google has in development, and we feel like it’s appropriate to set the record straight as much as we’re able to under the conditions of our own confidentiality agreements.
- Nothing is immediate. First of all, while yes, Reserve with Google in its current form will eventually be sunsetted, it isn’t going away anytime soon. As it often does, Google tests new developments before completely rolling them out, and they will only begin beta testing their new Reserve with Google replacement solution, called Things To Do, in Q2 2021. That means that Reserve with Google is likely to stick around through most of 2021 as Google continues to beta test and gauge the success of its new offering.
- Things To Do already exists. While Google’s future incarnation and integration of Things To Do will be expanded, its Things To Do is already a part of Google Travel. Google says, “Any operator that’s currently active with Reserve with Google can participate in these new Things To Do search experiences through free listings with the option to participate in future paid promotion opportunities.”
- Operators will not be left out in the cold. Another point of clarification is the notion of “closing” or “shutting down,” which implies that operators that are currently connected through Reserve with Google will suddenly find themselves SOL with their in-Google booking channel effectively terminated. This is simply not true. The new Things To Do solution will be an evolution of the existing Reserve with Google one, and operators that are already part of that program can certainly be migrated to the new one…and ones that aren’t yet part of Reserve with Google can still benefit by coming on board. Any operator that sells through Reserve with Google now will still yield direct sales through Google. That means more tickets sold more easily right now, as travel is recovering, and as operators ready for what might be a reasonable robust summer 2021 season. Consider this: There are some major theme parks that are already selling out of capacity under current limitations. If you aren’t selling beyond capacity, you should consider Reserve with Google right now as a viable distribution channel.
- Optimizing your Google My Business listing is still a great thing to do. In order to participate in any of Google’s programs, operators still need to claim and invest time and attention to their Google My Business listing. This is a smart effort regardless of Reserve with Google or any other replacement program because Google’s algorithms still index that GMB content. This certainly can’t hurt your organic SEO rankings!
- How are we defining “direct” in a connected world? The way that Reserve with Google – or any future solution – even works is because of integrated, coded, real-time connectivity. This coding is complicated and highly engineered from one entity to another. To connect a ticketing or reselling system to Google via a direct integration takes detail and programming muscle. That is why it’s challenging for Google to work directly with individual operators and why any of their solutions must go through some kind of connection already in place. Operators are not in the business of programming code to some tech company; they’re in the business of creating and providing amazing, memorable, engaging experiences for their guests! Similarly, Google is in the business of providing its users with such easy-to-use seamless experiences that people want to just do everything they need to do in a Google environment. To succeed at that, Google needs to work with partners they can count on to build similarly great, frictionless, reliable code. Google affirms, “A data feed integration will continue to be required [for Things To Do] along with some new requirements such as supplier booking links and landing pages.”
- Not a ticketing system, not an OTA — where does Redeam fit into all this? The article paints OTAs as bad guys and reservation systems as unviable solutions. None of that is true. Nor is it appropriate that agnostic players like Redeam went altogether unmentioned. Redeam is already working with Google as an approved and integrated Reserve with Google Partner. Why, when we are neither a ticketing system nor an OTA, do we have a seat at Google’s table? Because providing connectivity is all we do. And, we are the defacto means for an operator to work directly with Google. We are the pipe that can get your inventory activated on Reserve with Google and any other future program Google launches. And, yes, we know what’s coming down the pike, and we will be an even better partner for operators then. Redeam is actively participating in Google’s Things to Do beta program and creating unique solutions to meet its new requirements.
If you do not yet know much about Reserve with Google, perhaps it’s worth a conversation at this very moment. Visit our Reserve with Google website page to learn more. We can help your A-game be prepared for what Google launches next.