In September we wrote about Kayak – a meta search engine that helps people find the cheapest flights. It was recently announced that Kayak would merge with SideStep – the #2 travel meta search engine.
Meta Travel Search engines are different than Expedia and Orbitz. Expedia and Orbitz are what are called Online Travel Agents (OTAs). OTAs have direct booking capabilities, so you can search, choose and book your flight. Kayak works differently. Kayak simply searches all other OTAs and carrier direct sites (e.g. delta.com) and returns the cheapest flights for your desired itinerary. Kayak then lets you click the flight you want and forwards you to delta.com, expedia.com, cheapflights.com, etc.
Greg Saks of Compete.com wrote an extensive analysis on the implications of the merger between Kayak and SideStep. An interesting finding from the analysis highlights the percentage of user traffic Kayak attracts from ‘other travel sites’.
Nearly 45% of Kayak’s visitor traffic is acquired from “other travel sites”. Kayak has achieved this volume by providing “widgets” any travel site can feature on its site. The Kayak widget allows a site; let’s call it tomsvacationrentals.com, to copy a small piece of code into their site. People who then visit tomsvacationrentals.com looking for a vacation rental can now also search Kayak for a cheap flight to get to Tom’s homes. To thank its partners, Kayak will pay for every user that uses the widget. This way TomsVacationRentals not only provides a useful tool for its visitors, but also makes a little extra money for helping them find the best flight.
If you are interested in adding the Kayak widget to your site click here to learn more.