With search engine giant Google preparing a move into Britain’s travel market, online marketing experts are warning travel portals such as Travelsupermarket and Expedia to beef up their business models and face the “threat” head on.
SEO marketing expert Andreas Pouros specialises in helping companies to maximise their online advertising and marketing operations. He recently told Travelmole that Google’s recent acquisition of travel technology firm ITA Software meant that it now posed a clear and present danger to holiday price comparison sites based in the UK.
Mr Pouros said that the ITA data included such essential information as minute-by-minute flight availability and the cheapest fares, which would enable Google to point potential holidaymakers to the best deals without the need for other companies to be involved.
“Travel intermediaries should be very concerned as Google moves towards becoming central to consumers’ travel purchasing behaviour,” he insisted.
“It is only a little over seven months ago since Google made a similar move with property intermediaries.”
Google now shows houses that are for sale or available for rent on Google Maps, thanks to a facility that allows property portals to download their listings free. With ITA it will also now be able to point users towards the cheapest flights or hotel deals.
It is believed that at first the search engine will only use the new software to direct web traffic to dedicated travel websites, but there is also the likelihood that it will ultimately start selling plane tickets directly to travellers.
Mr Pouros said that “travel intermediaries should at the very least be determining how they should operate in the next few years.”