Friday, February 06, 2009

Kayak to take on UpTake (or is it the other way round)

Quick post, as I am running around today

Meta-search behemoth (poised to hit a billion searches in Q1 09) has announced that it is adding hotel review meta-search to its engine (care of HotelMarketing). Two interesting points caught my mind here:

1. (nee Kango) came to this model first and has raised money and profile to go after it. But Kayak clearly has traffic to burn; and

2. I interviewed Kayak's VP Communications Kellie Pelletier back in Jan last year after thier acqusition of Sidestep. At the time Sidestep had a lot of content assets (such as the now dead TripUp). Kellie made it clear to me that Kayak was not looking to pursue a content based strategy - rather would rely on their engineering lead to beat the OTAs and "regular" search companies. I am trying to decide if this move into meta-searching content is a change in strategy or not. On the one hand it is embracing content but on the other it is using engineering to collate and organise someone else's existing content.

Need to think about his more but Uptake - watch you back!


Guillaume said...

I think this strategic move from Kayak is more to offer an alternative to TripAdvisor than being a "me too" of UpTake.

TravelPost is a scalable company in the same way was TripAdvisor in 2000/01.

If there are some interesting new useful functionalities to add on the site and some clever marketing tactics, I don't see any reason why Kayak shouldn't try to make TravelPost a serious competitor of TripAdvisor.


PatriciaJ said...

Thanks Tim, we are watching them closely to see how the launch a hotel meta search. Travel is alway interesting on the road and online.

Yen said...

little doubt now that they are going after TripAdvisor rather then little ol'us -

Probably because it's possible for Kayak to be more comprehensive then TripAdvisor. But impossible for Kayak to ever be truly comprehensive if they don't have TripAdvisor

Tim Hughes said...

@Yen - agreed. I think the gap in arbitrage margins for metasearch is closely rapidly (that is the difference between the cost of buying travel from google and selling it to metasearch using suppliers/agents). This means that Kayak needs to find free/organic traffic and quickly.

Sam said...

As the original founder of TravelPost, it's fun to see what Kayak will do with it! Here's my take on opportunities for Kayak and vulnerabilities for TripAdvisor.

I'd also note that TripAdvisor started, almost a decade ago, as a hotel review and opinions aggregator, and maintains some of this functionality (though very much deprecated vs. the original reviews). Part of this is that original content performs better with SEO than aggregated content.