Google has finally launched a flight search tool in India, enabling people to search for flights without having to visit various travel and ticketing websites. Travel agencies have been in fear for a while that Google may try to cut the middleman and be the tool users want. That day has come.
With the new tool, customers can now find all flight data right on Google, compare flights from different airlines, and book their ticket from the airline’s website. Travel agencies usually take a commission on every ticket they sell. Google is taking a different approach. It’s sending those users directly to the airline’s website (or a partner aggregator) to book their ticket online.
It’s clear that Google wants users to use its site as much as possible. If users can do all the flight searching and comparing right from Google, it’s unlikely they will go to a different site which may take longer to load and be filled with advertisements.
Google launched its Flight Search way back in 2010. The search giant’s venture into flight searching tool was launched after it had acquired flight information software company ITA software. After the $700 million acquisition, Google Flight Search went online in the United States and later in parts of Europe.
As the world is more focusing on the growth of India, Google has now enabled the service in this region. However, the travel agencies who operate in India aren’t that afraid just yet. According to Subramanya Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer of ClearTrip, Google Flight Search will have limited success in India. He pointed to the fact that most airline websites aren’t optimized to work well with mobile devices. Google sends Flight Search users to the airline websites to book their ticket, so it’s likely that they will have a poor experience.
Travel agency websites, on the other hand, are more user-friendly and optimized to work better with multiple devices. Only time will show whether Google Flight Search creates an impact on the traffic to travel agency websites that offer the same service.