July 22, 2014

The next chapter in the convergence of OTAs and metasearch

A metasearch-like advertisement on an online travel agency site isn’t going to get anywhere near the the sort of clout that sites such as TripAdvisor, Google and Kayak can wield, but it enables OTA sites to get into metasearch in a modest way to appease consumers’ inclination to comparison-shop without taking a lot of the risk.

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.

Metasearch sites such as Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hipmunk, which traditionally shuttled users to online travel agency or hotel/air/car rental sites when it came time to complete their bookings, over the last couple of years have optionally let travelers book online travel agency-like without leaving the metasearch app.

With travel metasearch the fastest growing channel in travel, until now online travel agencies could be divided into the haves and have-nots in terms of owning a metasearch site or not — Expedia Inc. controls Trivago and the Priceline Group owns Kayak.

But, if you consider it a valuable asset to own such a metasearch site, online travel agencies Orbitz Worldwide, Travelocity/LastMinute.com, CheapOair and eDreams Odigeo are metasearch paupers.

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