From a funding perspective, no venture capitalist wants to compete with Google.
Quote from Christian Saller, general partner of Holtzbrinck Ventures, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
The metasearch model, part 4: Startup space
Rewind a few years, and Saller's fairly bleak assessment of the venture capital market in travel would never perhaps be aired in public.
There was a general perception that with the right money, right team, right product (and a bit of luck - this is the world of startups, let's face it), Google sat alongside other incumbents in the travel ecosystem.
And, therefore, it could be challenged.
But Google, typically, has come good on its strategy and is now a significant player in flight and hotel search, providing users with tools that may not have the bells and whistles of standalone brands but get the job done.
It says a lot about the investment circles that, generally, they are perhaps no longer willing to fund up-and-coming brands that would seek to make inroads in the market ... because of Google.
It also speaks volumes that, previously, startups would've been funded if the competition was an incumbent, travel-focused brand, rather than a platform with the technical prowess and presence throughout the daily lives of consumers or Google.
So does this mean that a white flag is being waved by those that have the ability to give challengers the means to at least try and compete?
It would appear so.
And, some might argue, such an assessment is only going to become more certain as Google enters and seeks to influence other sectors of the industry (such as tours and activities this year).
It then begs the question as to where the competition will come in the future.
If Google continues to expand its influence on the travel industry, perhaps it will only be established players with large war chests (lest we forget, with money heading the way of Google to fund their customer acquisition strategies) that can stall its growth.
Or, as some forecast (with a brand that was on many a lips earlier this year), it is only an Amazon that can truly put a stall on the powerful becoming even more powerful.