Google’s move into direct travel booking has sparked a debate about whether new online players will enhance the likelihood that regulators will approve Expedia’s pending acquisition of Orbitz.
Google, which had already offered direct hotel booking on its mobile website, recently added that capability for desktop websites. Representatives of Google, operator of the world’s largest search engine, declined to comment last week, nor would they disclose how many U.S. hotels were included in the service.
Regardless, the move echoes online retail giant Amazon.com and its decision earlier this year to run a trial program for direct hotel bookings.
Additionally, travel-review leader and former Expedia affiliate TripAdvisor has been rapidly expanding the number of destinations that can be booked directly through its site. Last month, the company added Marriott International as a supplier whose rooms can be booked directly through TripAdvisor.
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