Is This a Google Mis-APP? Prof. Josep Valor on New Flight Search Feature

16/03/2012 Worldwide

Is this a Google Mis-app?

Travel agencies are among Google’s most important clients and Josep Valor wonders if the search engine hasn’t shot itself in the foot with its application that allows users to search for travel bargains. Once users find the best offer they bypass the agent and go directly to the airline’s site to book it, allowing the airline to offer hotels and car hire, precisely the sort of business that has kept travel agents alive.

Google's flight search feature (Google.com/flights) is changing the way people look for travel alternatives. The service offers users a way to compare prices, flight durations and route alternatives, while providing direct links to the airlines' websites where travelers can then book their flights.

It remains unclear how Google is monetizing the new service, such as through commissions from the airlines, explains IESE Prof. Josep Valor of the Information Systems and associate dean for executive education. What is certain is that Google's strategy is going to have a major impact on how online travel agencies (OTAs) compete in the future.

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