Opinion: Invest in search to reap the benefits of Google-ITA

Expect the deal to shake up travel marketing – it could be time to start rethinking your spend, says The Search Agency’s Ben Gibson

When Google has fully integrated ITA Software’s tech – and TechCrunch reports it isn’t far off – users should be able to view flight times and prices in relevant search results, for example ‘New York flight’.

What does that mean for travel marketers? First, they will need to make sure price information is available – initially for flights, but potentially for all their services including hotels and car hire. And they must also be in a position where those prices are competitive, which means closely monitoring competitors’ rates.

In addition, advertisers may need to re-evaluate their investment in partnerships with comparison sites and balance those out with higher investment in paid search.

As users will be able to compare prices directly on Google, there will be less reason for users to visit comparison sites, and a greater delivery of direct leads from search.

We believe this new acquisition will enable the travel industry as a whole to better target their customers through search. Travel companies need to make sure they are fully prepared for the new price comparison capability that the ITA software will bring to Google, and aware that the pace of innovation in this market is only accelerating.

Be prepared for greater changes to come.

The Search Agency has successfully used Google add-ons, such as site links, location extensions and mobile extensions to improve click-through rates for its clients. Headquartered in the US, it intends to be among the first to trial this feature with clients such as Singapore Airlines.

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