Two announcements Friday - Expedia spinning off TripAdvisor and Google receiving permission to purchase ITA Software - are steps toward a very different distribution model than hoteliers use today. TripAdvisor could become more “hotel-friendly,” and hoteliers could be enticed to spend additional money there, said Max Starkov, chief e-business strategist at Hospitality eBusiness Strategies. And moves by Google point to an increased role in aggregating travel search options for consumers, which could increase Google’s potential as a distribution channel.

The immediate implications for hoteliers from Google’s approval to buy ITA Software for US$700 million, announced Friday, are more speculative. What is clear is Google intends to become a major player in the travel search field and adding real-time access to flight prices and availability gets the company closer to becoming a one-stop shop.

But most experts remain certain Google won’t begin selling airline tickets or hotel rooms. Rather, the company will focus on aggregating real-time information in its search results and driving users to advertisers via a pay-per-click model.

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