By Martin Kelly and Steve Jones, Editor Travel Today

New Google Australia travel boss, Claire Hatton, has emphatically denied speculation that the world’s most powerful Internet company is starting a niche travel search engine known as Troogle.

Why jeopardise the existing travel business? Hatton rhetorically asked at No Vacancy.

Instead, Google will build a team dedicated to the Australian travel industry as companies continue to take their businesses online.

Headed by Hatton, formerly of Galileo, the department will look to better understand travel companies and focus on developing their search and online marketing objectives.

It will also conduct local consumer research to arm itself with detailed knowledge of the market.

Hatton said she was looking to recruit people with online and travel backgrounds.

“Travel is already a major category for us and it’s growing,” Hatton told Travel Today. “This is recognition of that fact. We want to provide more focus and work closer together with the industry.”

She said some travel companies in Australia were already embracing online opportunities while others “had not got to grips” with it.

Figures produced by Google revealed that while online accounts for 25 per cent of all media consumed, it attracts only nine per cent of advertising spend.

Hatton said that a combination of paid for search and natural organics listings were “integral to new world marketing strategies”. Today
June 5, 2007

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