11 thoughts on “Kayak-SideStep Merge, Ride Ahead Is Rocky”

  1. The travel industry is highly competitive and operates on razor thin margins. I think these companies are smart to recognize things are going to get harder, the recent unannounced entry by Google into the space (baby steps) no doubt is sending shivers. They are smart to consolidate and lock in a niche a secure a market position before it is too late.


  2. Hi Om,

    Vertical search engine growth is measured by growth of searches and resulting revenue, not by number of visitors. (It is very inexpensive for any site to pump up the number of visitors by buying low cost and low value “visitors” who do not end up doing or search or generating revenue.)

    If you speak with any of the agencies or travel providers on Kayak, you will see that we are indeed growing rapidly, and with strong profits for us and for the travel sites shown on Kayaks.

    And as for economic weakness, online travel sites actually grow through any recessions, as the need for consumers to find the best deal actually increases during times of economic slowness.

    Kind regards,

    ps, you seem to write about your friend Beatrice’s company quite a bit, you might want to ask her about search volumes and sell through vs just getting visitors.

  3. Hey Om. The macro-economic backdrop is always worth taking into account. But I think that what happens at the firm level is highly dependent on how distinct segments will start to compete and complement each other. It used to just be about the OTAs (the Expedia’s of the world). Then price comparison engines (Kayak) entered the picture. Now a myriad of sharing (travel communities/social networks/blogs), organizing (TripIt), and planning (Kango, TripHub) sites are evolving. Heck I think we are entering the Cambrian period of evolution here in the travel space, fueled by growing consumer demand for ease, convenience, selection, and experience. Anyway, we blogged about our POV so drop by and see if you agree with our take. Thanks for tying in the traffic and macro factors, not something we had focused on.

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