Search engine giant Google whose innovative approach to Internet searching transformed the online travel industry some ten years ago has decided to enter the lucrative travel market directly with the acquisition of ITA Software who provides flight information.
It is Google’s intention to allow users to search directly for flight destinations since the ITA software can provide fares, flight and journey times. It has been reported that Google paid $700m in cash for the US based ITA Software Company which was founded back in 1996.
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said “What we’re going to do is build new flight search tools that focus on end users.” He then when on to stress that that Google will not be selling airline tickets to clients. This may well prove to be an interesting time for the online travel industry and Google since ITA current clients include Microsoft’s comparisons website Bing Travel, Expedia and Travelport.
There is concern among regulators that Google may well have a considerable influence on flight data and would the acquisition be good for the consumer. Google have made it clear that it is their intention to work in the best interest of the consumer offering a progressive opening up of the travel marketplace. Currently, within the aviation industry there are systems in place to allow fight booking for different destinations e.g. London to Dallas via Philadelphia and a fee is paid for each segment of the journey. The fear is that Google could challenge that process making the future very interesting.
Google’s dominance is a concern within the online travel community, particularly as their have confirmed working on a project that will allow users to have results of their searches for hotels displayed on Google maps. But real concern if you are a travel advisor is whether or not Google will launch a travel compassion site.