Sites such as eLong let Chinese travelers book air tickets online. How will the online booking market be affected by Google’s recent purchase of the software company ITA?

eLong is Expedia’s exclusive affiliate in Asia (http://www.elong.net/aboutus/index.html), and in terms of shares and votes, is owned by Expedia. In addition to Expedia’s majority control of eLong, an online travel agency (OTA), Expedia’s TripAdvisor unit operates two media brands in China, daodao.com and kuxun.cn. (http://www.tnooz.com/2010/06/01/news/expedia- increases-its-stake-in-china-online-travel-agency- elong/)

“We expect limited financial impact of Google-ITA on Expedia, given only about 12 percent of Expedia’s revenue is from air and with ITA, Google will also become a source of qualified leads for OTAs (similar to Kayak),” said Naved Khan, an analyst at the brokerage firm Jefferies & Co.

In terms of current exposure to Google search, Khan said his analysis using comScore data shows that search phrases on Google containing four common search terms related to air bookings — Air, Air tickets, Flight and Flight Tickets — generated 1 million clicks to Expedia sites in Feb, representing less than 5 percent of total clicks to Expedia from Google search. (http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/132765/20110411/exped ia-online-travel-agencies-google-ita-software-nasdaq- stock-market-buy-rating-expedia-com- hotels.htm#ixzz1K1h3Bms0)

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