Travel related e-commerce websites in India are big hit. Although other e-commerce portals are finding it difficult to continue with their respective e-commerce models due to infrastructure and other costs yet travel related e-commerce portals in India are making good profits.
This has attracted the attention of some very big names in the corporate world. One such name is Google that is now planning to launch its flight travel search service in India after it successfully launched the same in US and some parts of Europe. This model allows the users to compare fares offered by airlines and book tickets directly from airline websites.
However, e-commerce portals like Makemytrip, Yatra and Cleartrip are feeling threatened due to this plan of Google. In order to protect their businesses these portals are now planning to take necessary steps in this regard. One such possible step may involve approaching the Competition Commission of India (CCI) with a complaint in this regard.
What grounds would be taken by these portals before the CCI is still to be seen. Of course, they can allege discrimination by Google when it comes to search results for queries relating to online travel. But how effective that ground would be is still to be seen.
Recently a case has been filed by matrimonial site Bharatmatrimony.com to the CCI against Google citing discriminatory trade practices related to its AdWords program. It has been alleged by the complainant that Google has abused its dominance by engaging in discriminatory and retaliatory practices relating to AdWords.
Last year, CUTS, a non profit consumer advocacy group, had also filed a complaint with the CCI, urging it to investigate the potential anticompetitive conduct of Google in the Indian Internet, e-commerce market, online advertising and related markets.
In Europe, Google’s Flight Search is under pressure from travel portals such as Expedia and TripAdvisor, which have filed antitrust complaints against Google with the European Commission for promoting rival services and disrupting fair competition in the online travel space.