The Booking.com flight partnership with eTraveli doesn't seem particularly seamless because travelers still have to hop over to a third-party site, Gotogate, to complete their reservations. Still, the deal is another step in Booking.com's evolution from hotel-only provider in its early days to well-rounded online travel company.
Booking.com has unveiled the next piece in its evolution toward becoming a full-service online travel agency — flight bookings in seven European countries.
This is believed to be the first time that Booking.com has offered standalone flight bookings other than through sister company Kayak.
The difference is now that when travelers using Booking.com sites and mobile apps in Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands select the flight booking tab they are redirected to Gotogate, where they can book flights from 650 airlines to destinations around the world. (Update 1: It appears as though Booking.com’s UK website is now using Gotogate for flights, as well.)
[Update 2: Although it isn’t yet visible to all Booking.com users in Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands, Booking.com is now taking flight reservations in partnership with eTraveli on the Booking.com site without getting redirected to eTraveli’s Gotogate website. The confirmation emails come from Booking.com although eTraveli maintains the airline relationships.]
Previously — and still today on Booking.com’s websites other than in these seven European countries — consumers select the flight tab, navigate to Kayak, which in term hands them off to an airline or online travel agency site to complete their bookings.
The Booking.com flight partnership, which is not exclusive, is with eTraveli, a flight-oriented online travel agency based in Sweden. Gotogate is an eTraveli brand.
The Booking.com move to offer flights through Gotogate seems like an evolutionary move for a brand that for its first two decades, up until a couple of years ago, mostly offered hotels and alternative lodging.
But unlike sister brand Priceline, which offered flight booking since its founding in 1997, consumers still can’t book flights on Booking.com — they get redirected to Gotogate.
One imagines that if Booking.com gets deeper into the flight business, then it would want to enable flight bookings directly on its sites instead of by redirecting users to another business.
Booking.com’s deeper involvement in flights comes as Airbnb mulls launching a flight service to become more of a full-fledged online travel agency.
Updates: The story has been updated to reflect the fact that Booking.com’s UK site, as well, is now offering flights from eTraveli’s Gotogate brand. In addition, although it isn’t yet visible to all Booking.com users in Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands, Booking.com is now taking flight reservations in partnership with eTraveli on the Booking.com site without getting redirected to eTraveli’s Gotogate website. The confirmation emails come from Booking.com although eTraveli maintains the airline relationships.]
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Photo Credit: Pictured is the tail of a Ryanair plane. Booking.com launched flight bookings in seven European countries. Ryanair
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