Last year Google bought ITA Software, which powers many US airline reservation systems and acts as the engine under the hood of many fare-tracking websites, such as Bing, Hotwire, Kayak and TripAdvisor.
This week the U.S. Department of Justice approved the purchase of ITA Software by Google. What does this mean for the rest of us called consumers? And what does this mean to travel-booking sites?
With Google’s Instant Search to be integrated with ITA’s awesome technology, consumers will see faster and accurate results. Although consumers will not be able to purchase airline tickets on the Google sites for now, they will be able to search for competitive prices on airlines and will be redirected to several sites for booking, just the way Kayak and Bing works.
Customized search options, just the same way it works on Google.com, will make life easier for those consumers who are not familiar with existing flight search functionalities. Typing something like “Los Angeles to Istanbul on May 17, 2011 at 8pm” will generate accurate and relevant fare information.
Travel-booking sites like Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, etc. will definitely benefit from this acquisition as the giant company searches more booking sites on its massive network. Better scanning for fares on multiple airlines from these sites around the globe will make consumers pick and choose their flights, hotels and rental cars. Companies like Kayak and Bing have a lot to lose given that Google handles one in every three travel searches online, it will be hard for the metasearch sites to compete with it for customers.