Google about to upset the OTA industry

It’s no surprise given the number of people searching for air travel and accomodation information that Google has figured it’s an interesting area to get in to. So much so in fact that it has just splashed out $700m (cash) for American flight information firm, ITA Software.

And what does Google plan to do with their latest purchase? Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said, “What we’re going to do is build new flight search tools that focus on end users.” This is an interesting moment for the fully fledged online travel agents as many of them rely on ITA’s software to power their own sites and so they’re understandably concerned what might happen when their licences come up for renewal.

How does this fit into the FairerFees story? Google has also confirmed it is working on a project to enable users to search for hotels and see them listed on a map. Like many other Google projects this is unlikely to result in a dedicated rich and broad website but if it catches on it will certainly provide an alternative way for travellers to browse for accommodation and presumably be just one click away from booking direct. This will be a great opportunity for accommodation providers to cut out the greedy OTAs. All-in-all the OTAs could be in for challenging times.

Our partner organisation LetsBookRooms welcomes this development. Selling direct to the traveller should always be the preference over going via an OTA and so anything that helps the traveller realise the possible benefits of going direct is great.

By simply charging a fair annual fee to accommodation providers LetsBookRooms will provide new ways of connecting accommodation providers directly to their customers without ever charging a penny commission to anyone.

Published on July 7th, 2010 Uncategorized

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