The Reserve with Google team has informed tours and activities providers and booking partners that it will “phase out” RwG for tour bookings starting August 1, 2021.
The notification said “We would like to inform you that Google is planning to officially turn off Reserve with Google for tours, activities, and attractions on August 1st, 2021. This means the Buy Tickets button will no longer appear after July 31st.”
“As we’ve shared previously, Google is continuing to invest deeply in solutions for users and partners in this industry, and we are excited to continue to collaborate with you on Google Things to do in 2021 and beyond,” Google informed tour operators and partners. “Please also keep in mind that as our new product offerings continue to scale up, in particular the tickets search feature for Attractions, it is likely that Reserve with Google traffic will continue to decrease in the final month it is live.”
According to Dennis Schaal of Skift, “Google’s retreat in tours and activities booking services doesn’t mean Google is becoming less powerful in travel…it’s part of Google’s strategy to wrangle consistency across its products in offering a combination of advertisements and free listings to gain an even wider audience.”
Reserve with Google had rolled out the Tours and Activities feature in Spring 2019 to enable operators to capture bookings directly on their “Google my Business” business listings. This meant that customers did not have to navigate to other websites, with online travel agencies (OTA) partners processing the bookings for Google on the back end.
With this change, Google will initially offer ticketing for attractions — namely places like theme parks or museums, and not necessarily food tours, for instance — in Google Search. Consumers would presumably be able to start in Google search and then book these attractions on the attractions’ websites or from online travel agency partners.
Partner booking links, which require less integration than with Reserve With Google, would be free in the initial stage. Google wouldn’t be compensated for the clicks.
By dropping Reserve With Google for attractions, Google claims that they can provide more focus to build out the product. It also appears that Google is trying to achieve “consistency” across its surface area for better monetization.