Google announced today that it will buy all John Wiley & Sons Inc.’s travel assets, most particularly the Frommer’s travel brand, as the owner of the world’s largest internet search engine expands local services.
The deal will hand over to Google around 350 travel guides and Frommers.com, a destination-planning website. This follows announcements earlier this year by John Wiley that they were looking to sell publishing assets.
Google will combine its own localized data on hotels and restaurants around the world with the human touch of local writers and customer feedback in a strategy to draw traffic and advertisers from competitive websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. Travel is a big and growing category for search engines and Google is quite obviously ready to invest in it.
Google wants to be more than a search engine however, it wants to be a provider of quality, valued content. Last year Google bought restaurant-guide publisher Zagat and combined this with its own social network, Google+, to create a powerful local pool of content readers and contributors.
“The Frommer’s team and the quality and scope of their content will be a great addition to the Zagat team,” Google announced today. “We can’t wait to start working with them on our goal to provide a review for every relevant place in the world.”
Wherever the online publishing is heading, John Wiley is smiling, having only bought Frommer’s in 2001. Frommer’s started in 1957 with Arthur Frommer’s guidebook “Europe on $5 a Day”
Google shares rose 2% to $655 at 12:53 p.m. New York time. The stock is little changed this year. Following the announcement, TripAdvisor declined 4.9% to $33.37, Yelp dropped 6.9% to $24.06 and Expedia fell 1.8% to $53.48.