When Google acquired ITA flight software a couple of years back, a group of competitors went ballistic warning of unfair practices by the Internet search and ad giant. Most people back then blew off what FairSearch was contending, this author included. As it turns out, a half dozen court cases won and a lot of water under the hotel search bridge, and potential guests really have no choice at all. Google has rigged the hotel booking game into an ad recommendation one.
A federal lawsuit naming the likes of Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com, Travelocity, Trump International Hotels Management, Intercontinental, Kimpton, Sabre Holdings, Priceline, Marriott, Starwood, and Hilton alleges the companies conspired to fix hotel room prices. According to the news from Reuters, the suit claims the travel giants did so in an effort to fend off competition from smaller online retailers.
Google Hotel Finder has finally rolled out some of its much-anticipated ‘innovation’, in the form of a new search parameter than allows us to search for hotels by travel time from key attractions and destinations
Google’s head of Local, Maps and Location Services, Marissa Mayer, just announced the acquisition of Zagat, publisher of worldwide restaurant guides, on the Google blog. Zagat is the entity that produces some of the world’s best printable restaurant guides, and accordingly, the platform will now help refine Google tools like Maps, Places, and Hotspot too, Google’s growing recommendation engine.
Okay, just because Google bought ITA, just because flight search stuff got put onto the search page, just because they have 50 billion reasons to take over online travel, does not mean Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, and the rest at Google will. AND, launching the unbelievably fast Google Hotel Finder aspect for online travel? Nah, Google will never take over the multi-billion dollar online travel scene. Yeah! They will.
According to TechCrunch’s reliable network of source, Google may well roll out an integrated ITA search platform within days. A report by TC’s Leena Rao 16 hours ago suggests Google’s recent acquisition may in fact be the forboding nightmare Microsoft, Expedia, and others feared.
For all those investors who emailed to ask me if the American Airlines slash Orbitz fight would be a game changer, the news today of skyrocketing Orbitz stock prices is as good an answer as any. Orbitz Worldwide Inc. bounced shares upward on an Illinois court reversal of their case against American Airlines. The court ordered American to resume selling flights via the online travel agency.
The Department of Justice has approved a $700 million deal that will see Google acquire ITA Software, a travel technology company. The DoJ released a detailed ruling outlining the approval, along with some restrictions. As part of the deal, Google must license QPX software from ITA to airfare websites under “commercially reasonable terms”, continue to […]
The still raging war for online travel supremacy continues with news from Microsoft and Kayak. The pending sale of ITA to Google has spurred some fairly ridiculous allegiances and deals, not the least of which is the latest Bing “slash” Kayak pairing. Let’s face it, Microsoft has already spent two king’s ransoms trying to beat Google, and now this?
The war in online travel over basically who gets what & when continues this week with Delta Airlines snatching seats from Rick Seaney’s FareCompare, American Airlines going hog wild trying to engage on their own, and Google outlining (see Matt Cutts video below) how they can manually crucify websites for SPAM. Meanwhile travelers just want some price break justice.
The ceasefire between American Airlines and GDS giant Sabre signals an “all quiet” moment on the front lines of the online travel wars we have been covering. The announcement that the two companies would attempt to resolve their differences out of court, at least until June 1st, calmed the churning business cauldron for online travel for some.
Some really great online travel sites never even get mentioned. What with all the stories about American Airlines, Google, Expedia, Orbitz, Microsoft, even Bing, how is the consumer ever to know who the best is. What we often see is not innovation or anything approaching the best, it’s marketing and big business.
American Airlines and ITA penned a deal the other day which AA claims had nothing to do with Google’s acquisition of ITA technology. But the suggestion still remains as to what exactly Google is doing to fend off its opponents in the so called “Online Travel War.” Is Google silently orchestrating the downfall of Expedia and the others of FairSearch? Well, probably not anything so diabolical, but winning the ITA acquisition with underlying business relationships? This is not only possible, but probable.
The recent war between online travel agents and major airlines heats up still more. But for the travel consumer, how will all this soap opera posturing effect prices and value? The answer is fairly simple, prices will go up, and services will go down. The trend to cut everything from jet fuel to aspirin is in place, and only a paradigm shift can alter that. Comparison pricing is the only consumer weapon for value. Expedia, Google, American Airlines, the customer, what is best for business only the customer can say.
Recent developments in online travel highlight the immense power the Internet has on traditional structures. Google’s ITA software deal is now the subject or power strokes in Washington. As Microsoft, Kayak, and Sabre vie for Senatorial support, Obama’s Attorney General select focus scrutiny on the deal.