Why the World Would End Without Travel Meta Search Firms Like Kayak


Of course the world wouldn’t end – or at least not because of this. BUT the world of travel, Metasearch and OTA’s is  heating up and generating a lot of excitement. If you are a hotelier, it is a fine art of balancing where you really need to be to maximise reach for your hotel. Read on if you do not want to miss out on the fast changing world of online travel bookings.

What is Metasearch?

Metasearch websites act as a lead generation platform that allows bookers to search across multiple online travel agencies to get a ‘ready to compare” list of results in one place. Kayak was an early starter with Trivago & TripAdvisor the other major players. Selecting an option presented takes you through to the OTA selected.

How does Metasearch work?

Metasearch uses a method called screen scraping to get live availability of hotels and flights from OTA’s. Eg: Kayak (metasearch company) and supplier OTA (e.g. Booking.com) may agree to partner. Kayak would then integrate Booking.com with an API into the metasearch engine. And then Booking.com pays commission usually on  a Cost Per Click Kayak for the traffic it sends.

And why all this interest in Metasearch?

Travel bookers love having the best options out of the widest available offer all in one place. A menu with their personal preferences arranged the way they like to see it!

These nine articles / reports below provide great insights on all this excitement:

  1. Google finally becomes a force in hotel metasearch after nearly four years of near-irrelevance. http://products.skift.com/trend/the-state-of-travel-metasearch-in-2015/
  2. Expedia and Priceline the dominant global OTAs aligning their business interests with metasearch by buying arguably the two best platforms around at that time, Trivago and Kayak respectively. http://www.triometric.net/blog/item/metasearch-threat-or-opportunity-for-travel-suppliers
  3. Most of the Metasearch markets are turning into a three-horse race from eight to 10 http://skift.com/2014/01/15/interview-kayak-ceo-on-why-metasearch-competitors-cant-keep-up/
  4. Is metasearch a marketing channel or distribution channel? Metasearch used to be a simple concept to grasp when it was defined simply as a marketing channel. Now it is getting more complicated. Increasingly, many major metasearch sites like TripAdvisor are promoting booking and payment functions, similar to an OTA, despite many differences. http://www.tnooz.com/article/derbysoft-metasearch-marketing/

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  5. According to figures compiled by a web analytics firm, travelers made on average 21 visits to different travel websites before finally booking a trip with many reporting that is was extremely tedious and time-consuming. For the founders of commercial travel companies such as Priceline and Expedia this presents an ideal business opportunity to create websites for booking trips faster and more efficiently. http://www.datafox.co/blog/2014/04/metasearch-and-the-world-of-travel/
  6. While meta-search engines like Google HPA and Trivago give maximum importance to the lowest rate followed by highest bid, TripAdvisor’s default search results are based on ranking. For two or more hotels having similar rates – highest bidding within the price bucket gets top position. http://www.hospitalitynet.org/news/4066748.html
  7. Several tests over the years confirm that using a metasearch flight engine like Skyscanner, Momondo or Kayak can save travellers money. http://www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/smart-travel/features/future-travel-search-engines/
  8. “The distinctions between online travel agencies such as Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz, and travel metasearch sites such as Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hipmunk are getting really blurry.” http://www.timpeter.com/2014/07/22/the-big-myth-about-hotel-metasearch-travel-tuesday/
  9. Once travelers realize that the room rate on Expedia may be significantly lower than the one offered on Booking.com, or vice versa, then there would be all the more reason to use a hotel metasearch site to compare all of the available prices at once rather than start the search process on an online travel agency site or even the hotels’ own websites. http://skift.com/2014/12/18/the-online-travel-booking-game-in-europe-is-about-to-get-really-interesting/

So what is next in the world of Metasearch? More consolidation for sure, but not before a showdown between Priceline (Kayak), Expedia (Trivago) and the other giants Google Hotel Finder and TripAdvisor.