Google joins SEA’s crowded travel industry, launching flight search service in Singapore

Google is here to compete in the OTA space, starting with Singapore first.

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Google joins SEA’s crowded travel industry, launching flight search service in Singapore

Google Flights is now available in Singapore and users can now effectively compare flight options; look for exotic travel places via their smartphones, tablets or laptops.

Simply by keying in “Flights to”, travelers will be able to find the best routes at the best available price for a cost-effective travel plan. For those who are still undecided, the option to track a flight and receive notification emails of change in prices, travel tops etc.

Google’s push into the online travel market seemed apt, especially when considering the size of Southeast Asia’s (SEA) economy that stands at US$500 billion, according to a Web in Travel Singapore article. Online travel, as just one of the components, is today valued at US$27 billion alone. With only 35% of travel bookings in the region being done online, Southeast Asia’s online travel (OTA) market is relatively less mature and offers a huge potential for growth.

While Google faces steep competition in Southeast Asia’s OTA market, understanding the online landscape in SEA might not be all that new to the search engine giant. Both India’s OTA giant MakeMyTrip and Malaysia Airlines partnered Google to solve two major challenges – weak internet data connection and low-end smartphones with limited data storage space – in India’s online travel market. Progressive Web App (PWA) was designed to navigate through and saw user engagement grew by 160%.

That could be the advantage Google has over other players like Priceline, Expedia, Traveloka etc. SEA’s O2O platform provider Grab has also made its move into this space via Bookings.com. Overall, with bigger tech players venturing in, the end game might really just about how to leverage the latest technologies to “better” that experience that the mobile generation is after. Dream, Plan, Book, and Experience are the four vital keys where all of these players can seek to increase the travel experience on the web.

Editor: Ben Jiang