Airbnb said in its IPO filing that its search results have been hurt by Google launching its own travel-comparison tools

By Hugh Langley

Airbnb revealed its initial public offering documents on Monday, and noted Google's push into the travel sector as one of many potential risks to its business.

In fact, the company said its search engine rankings had already been "adversely" affected by Google launching its own price comparison tools for travelers.

"We believe that our SEO results have been adversely affected by the launch of Google Travel and Google Vacation Rental Ads, which reduce the prominence of our platform in organic search results for travel-related terms and placement on Google," the company noted in the S-1 filing.

Airbnb noted in the filing that a drop in visibility in SEO and a reduction of traffic to its platform from Google could require it to increase its paid marketing spend, pushing up its customer acquisition costs.

Google was for a long time a key driver of traffic to travel sites such as and Expedia, but over the years it has grown into a competitor by building its own travel comparison tools and elevating them to the the top of search results.

This certainly isn't the first time travel companies have voiced their concern about Google encroaching on their territory, either. Rivals have been increasingly vocal about how changes to Google's search engine are driving fewer clicks to their businesses.

In fact, last week, a coalition of travel and accommodation companies wrote to the European Union demanding it take antitrust action against Google. The company, they argued, had expanded into areas such as Google Flights and Google Travel at the expense of competitors. 

The complaint focused on the prominent squares of text or images that appear in Google when users search for holiday destinations, known as the "OneBox."  The group argues that Google is taking away valuable space that could be used to direct users to other sites.

Airbnb's comments also come as Google is facing an antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department, which accuses the company of maintaining a monopoly on search.

While the lawsuit focuses on Google's exclusionary agreements with device makers, other states are expected to join the case and could potentially expand the focus to include accusations that Google preferences its own products in search results.

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Axel Springer, Insider Inc.'s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.