In October 2011, about a month after the buzz around the launch of Google Flight Search and (kind of) subsided, Tnooz published traffic share figures for the fledgling service.
The data obtained from Experian Hitwise¬†revealed a slow start for Google’s first official foray into flight search, with the service ranked number 391 in the list of most popular travel sites in the US.
In comparison, Kayak, one of the company most publicly opposed to Google’s acquisition of ITA Software 12 months earlier, was in 17th position.
Not much to worry about, then?
Four months on, how is Google doing now (admittedly still without a fully-baked product, but with heaps of exposure)?
Brand Position in list of US travel sites - September 2011 Position in list of US travel sites - January 2012 Market share of US metasearch category - January 2012
Kayak 17 14 52.56%
Bing Travel 30 37 18.24%
Farecompare 111 131 3.49%
Google Flight Search 391 368 1.00%
Hipmunk 974 1,034 0.26%
Mobissimo 1,359 1,395 0.17%
Other brands not included in the table, but where data is available for January 2012, include:
- Skyscanner (496th position, 0.68% market share)
- Fly.com (73rd position, 6.83% market share)
- Cheapflights (54th position, 11.81% market share)
As pointed out in October last year, Google is still only focusing on domestic routes, but since then it has started throwing search results higher into SERPS.
The worry will not be felt at Kayak just yet, but perhaps Google’s arch rival Bing (which is powered by Kayak!) will be wondering what happens when Google Flight Search does finally get a full suite of routes and destinations, especially to cities outside of the US.
As for Hipmunk and Mobissimo? Legitimate questions can be asked as to what is the strategy to claw back some of the tiny levels of market share they had before Google started gaining a scintilla of traction.