The search giant has been angling for a bigger role in the mobile booking sector lately, a notion that may be disconcerting for online travel agencies and airline marketers seeking to garner more sales traffic from smartphones. Google’s latest search iterations – which also extend to the retail sector – indicate that consumers are looking for real-time inventory updates and customized suggestions more than ever before, meaning that predictive analytics will become paramount for travel providers this year. “The new features launched by Google puts [the company] one step closer toward understanding the modern traveler’s online behavior, helping it own the customer experience and forcing travel providers to become just a service vehicle – taking a backseat on opportunities to own the customer journey, relegated to one part of the process,” said Dave O’Flanagan, CEO of Boxever. “By better understanding the customer, Google and others such as Facebook are able to capitalize on upsell and cross-sell opportunities, estimated to be worth $60 billion for airlines alone in 2015. “A cross-channel experience is paramount to success, and mobile is key to growing this ancillary revenue model,” he said. “Travel providers are also losing the ability to provide unique customer experiences and eroded loyalty by not knowing their customers as well as they could, opening the door for new stakeholders to jump in. Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily