Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sprice.com - more meta-search in Asia

First Fare.net raised an amazing amount of money (more than US$10mm), then they merged with Coelis of France (OK both things happened at the same time but lets assume they were sequential as it adds to the story) to create Sprice.com. Now we have the Sprice launch in Asia Pacificto take on Bezurk. The new site (Singapore based ULR) looks like all that you would expect from Meta-search. Simple options for searching air, car, hotel etc from multiple sites. The interstitial also looks good and informative - counting off the sites that are being searched, the results from each one and the time that will be needed to complete the search. So good start - money in the bank, good home page, simple search and nice interstitial.

However I don't like the search results page (am looking at the hotel one here). They have adopted neither the list approach of their forebears (in both meta-search and "normal" travel) where you display the hotels one on top of each other or the grid approach of the "middle grounders" (ie single product focused players like Wotif.com and RatesToGo). Instead they have a combination of the two - a list that goes right to left, five to a row with three columns (have a look). That's fifiteen hotels stacked on top of each other in a supermarket shelf like fashion. I don't like it because the dominant feature is the hotel photo (if available) which given the size looks like a generic building and certainly does not produce a differentiator that draws me to any particular property. Descriptions do not appear in the first set of results. The photo pops up (and descriptive text appears) once you hover over a hotel but I think consumers will find the initial search results confusing and hard to digest.

They also need a few more suppliers connected - the dominance of Octopustravel, HotelClub and AsiaRooms means in effect a lot of the shopping is coming from the same inventory source. Am sure more content/inventory deals will come so the more pressing issues is the search result page.

Good to see another comparative search player in the Asia Pac market but Sprice and senior Asian exec Sandor Bakalis have work to do to be competitive.


Anonymous said...

Sandor Bakalis pass profile :
E-commerce manager at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Why the KLM deal goes to bezurk ?

As we see it from APAC, sprice and bezurk are competing each other.

Anonymous said...

Oih, I Love these two hotels

Great position and well priced