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Carving a Niche as a Global Player in the Travel Meta-Search Category
The travel meta-search space has witnessed the entry of several new players over the last couple of years. With Google making its foray into the category last year, it is believed that some of these new entrants will crumble, and the relatively mature players will consolidate and improve upon their offerings.
The spate of developments in this category, be it for new ventures or new features, has resulted in intuitive search solutions and tools that promise to change the way consumers search for travel online. Efforts to revolutionise travel search aren't new but online offerings are just getting better now. Overall, customer expectations are driving changes in the online travel business. Travellers want fast shopping whenever and wherever they feel like shopping, better selection and attractive prices/ deals to go with it.
As far as competition is concerned, a section of the industry believes that Google will represent a bigger threat to OTAs than to current meta-search companies. However, for meta-search players, the danger of losing traffic to their websites and mobile applications, too, can't be ruled out.
On their part, meta-search companies acknowledge Google's prowess. Google changed from being gatekeeper to many to becoming a formidable competitor.
"I think the web search giants getting deeper into the travel search vertical was probably the most significant development of 2011 - Google with the launch of their Flights and Hotel search products and Baidu with their investment in Qunar," Singapore-based travel meta-search site Wego's newly appointed CEO Ross Veitch told EyeforTravel's Ritesh Gupta in an interview.
Veitch, who is scheduled to speak at the forthcoming Travel Distribution Summit Asia 2012, to be held in Singapore (May 9 -10) this year, added that given the value of the travel search vertical, the industry can expect similar developments in 2012 and beyond.
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