Friday, April 15, 2011

The Googleisation of travel vs the Travel Agent

You may not have heard about them but a company called ITA has recently been taken over by Google.

ITA is a ticketing software company based in the USA.  Major travel websites like TripAdvisor, Kayak and Expedia, as well as a bunch of US airlines use their software, which collates flight schedules, prices and availability.

The purchase by Google is old news - it started in July 2010, but recently the deal has been given the OK by the US Department of Justice - although a few strings have been attached. The fear was that giving Google this much control of this kind of data might lead to price and search manipulation.

Manipulation - maybe not, but googleisation of Travel - there is some evidence with the website Search Engine Land publishing what it purports to be test pages of hotel price ads which pop up when you are searching Google Maps.

Although other travel sites have a right to be concerned - that Google is taking over the world - they should have more confidence in the the other services they provide.  I use a combination of Kayak and Tripit to diarise all my travel - flights and hotel bookings, but I never use them to actually book anything.  That I do the old fashioned way, with a travel Agent. I like to talk to someone, and get their advice, and give them the commission.

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