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Revolutionizing Travel: A Deep Dive into KAYAK and Its Top Competitors

Overview of KAYAK as a Travel Search Engine

Being a world-class travel search engine, KAYAK is committed to helping travelers simplify the process of searching, comparing, and booking travel. KAYAK is a subsidiary of the Booking Holdings Inc.

which also owns other big travel brands such as, Priceline, Agoda and OpenTable. KAYAK does not sell tickets nor does it book hotels; instead, it provides users with a comprehensive, real-time database that populates the best deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars from across the web.

Since its launch, KAYAK has become a favorite of travelers worldwide, with over 3 billion people who have accessed its services.

Founder and History of KAYAK

The inception of KAYAK dates back to 2004 when Paul English and Steve Hafner established the idea of combining multiple tools into one site that could provide comprehensive travel information. The following year, KAYAK was officially launched for public use, and the platform consistently grew in user numbers.

In February of 2013, KAYAK went public, with an IPO priced at $26 a share with a net worth of $1.1 billion. Since then, the company has continued to innovate and improve its services for users.

KAYAK’s Sources of Information and Contractual Relationships

One of the distinguishing features of KAYAK is that it acts as a search engine aggregator of travel information that is drawn from a multitude of sources, including individual airlines, online travel agencies, and other travel booking sites. KAYAK’s technology sorts through vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently, enabling users to compare prices and other travel options based on their individual preferences.

This means that users can find information and book travel without having to search across several individual sites, saving time and money in the process.

KAYAK’s Business Travel Product

Catering to the needs of professionals who travel frequently for business purposes, KAYAK’s business travel product, KAYAK for Business, provides a platform for organizing travel information, including expenses, booking details, and itinerary.

This system allows business travelers to manage all of their travel information and deadlines in one place, enhancing organization and efficiency.

This feature ensures that businesses can make the most of their travel budgets while streamlining the travel process for employees.

KAYAK’s Founders

KAYAK’s founders, Paul English and Steve Hafner, have played instrumental roles in the company’s success. Paul English, the former CTO of a software company, has been instrumental in designing the company’s search engine algorithms and developing powerful new features that enhance the user experience.

Steve Hafner, on the other hand, has been heavily involved in managing the company’s operations and ensuring that KAYAK remains at the forefront of the travel industry. Together, they have been responsible for creating a dynamic and innovative platform that is revolutionizing the way we book travel.

KAYAK’s Acquisition of Its


As a market leader in the travel industry, KAYAK has acquired several competitors over the years, including SideStep, Orbitz, and Momondo, to name a few. Acquiring these companies has helped KAYAK expand its reach, access new markets, and remain at the forefront of the travel industry.

Through these acquisitions, KAYAK has diversified its services while consolidating its position as one of the most trusted and reliable travel search engines in the world.


From its humble beginnings to its current status as a travel industry disruptor, KAYAK has remained true to its founding principles, providing users with a comprehensive, real-time database of travel information. With a team of founders and engineers who are committed to innovation and a customer-centric approach, KAYAK continues to develop new ways to make travel simpler, more efficient, and more affordable for all.

As consumers continue to seek out ever more streamlined and personalized travel experiences, KAYAK is sure to remain one of the most highly sought-after travel search engines in the industry. KAYAK’s Financials

KAYAK went public in February of 2013, pricing its initial public offering (IPO) at $26 per share.

The stock market valued the company at $1.1 billion based on the IPO price. In 2013, KAYAK generated approximately $202 million in revenue, with a net income of approximately $18 million.

In 2013, KAYAK was acquired by Booking Holdings (formerly The Priceline Group) for $1.8 billion. However, based on the lack of revenue breakdown from Booking Holdings, it is unclear what portion of the resulting revenue can be attributed directly to KAYAK.

KAYAK’s revenue model is based on partnerships and advertising revenue. The company lists sponsored hotels, airlines, and car rental companies on its platform and receives commissions on bookings made through its site.

KAYAK also displays advertisements from travel-related companies and receives payment for each click on an advertisement.


KAYAK is typically ranked as one of the top travel search engines along with other big players in the industry, such as

Expedia,, Tripadvisor, and Skyscanner. KAYAK distinguishes itself due to the size and breadth of its database.

KAYAK searches over 500 travel websites, including other travel search engines, individual airline sites, and online travel agencies.

In the flight booking industry, several other notable competitors include CheapOair, OneTravel, and Orbitz.

CheapOair and OneTravel prioritize low-cost flight options, while Orbitz prioritizes value-added flight options like vacation packages. Expanding Travel Sites Including KAYAK and its


One trend in the travel industry is that travel websites and apps are expanding their services beyond traditional booking options.

KAYAK, for example, offers several other features beyond flight and hotel booking, such as car rentals, packages, cruises, and activities. Similarly, expanded beyond hotel bookings to offer vacation rental options as well.

Competitors like Tripadvisor have also launched new features like social media-style recommendation channels and personalized trip-planning tools. Skyscanner recently launched a train booking feature and partnered with dining reservation service OpenTable to add restaurant reservations to its platform.

Overall, as the travel industry continues to evolve, it is likely that travel search engines and other booking platforms will continue to expand their services and partner with other travel-related services to offer a broader range of options and provide even more value to users. In the meantime, KAYAK and other top players will continue to provide users with comprehensive travel information and the best possible deals on flights, hotels, and other travel options.

Competitor Analysis


Skyscanner is a UK-based travel search engine that offers comprehensive services for flights, hotels, and car rentals. As one of KAYAK’s top competitors, Skyscanner has established a strong brand awareness and reach, with a user base that spans over 200 countries.

In 2019, Skyscanner generated over $1 billion in revenue.

One of Skyscanner’s strengths is its extensive database that includes over 1,200 travel partners.

In addition, Skyscanner has focused heavily on mobile technology, offering a mobile app that has been downloaded over 100 million times. This has contributed significantly to the company’s success in emerging markets where mobile is the primary means of accessing the internet. is one of the world’s leading travel-related sites, with over 29 million listings across 228 countries and territories. The platform specializes in accommodations, including hotels, resorts, apartments, and vacation rentals.

In 2020, generated over $12.4 billion in revenue, demonstrating its position as a market leader in the travel industry.

One of’s key strengths is its focus on customer service, demonstrated by the platform’s 24/7 customer service support and translation services.

In addition, has established a reputation for offering competitive pricing and a user-friendly platform that allows travelers to easily search and compare accommodations.

Google Travel

Google Travel is a dedicated travel booking platform that offers flight, hotel, and vacation rental booking services, as well as trip planning tools. One of the unique features of

Google Travel is its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to personalize travel recommendations and alerts based on a user’s search history and other travel-related data.

Google Travel’s entrance into the travel booking industry has raised concerns about antitrust issues, as critics believe the platform’s dominance in search engines could potentially give it an unfair advantage over other travel agencies and booking sites. However, currently, Google travel claims that it is not directly monetizing its services by offering commissions or charging fees and that it provides relevant ads based on what is seen to fit user search intent the most.


Expedia is an online travel agency that owns multiple travel-related brands, including, Orbitz, and Vrbo. With a database that includes over 1.5 million accommodations and partnerships with over 500 airlines,

Expedia generates over $12 billion in revenue annually.

One of

Expedia’s strengths is its wide range of products and services, including vacation packages, car rentals, and activities. The platform’s user-friendly interface allows travelers to easily search and compare options for flights, hotels, and other travel-related needs.


Kiwi is a lesser-known travel search engine that offers features such as proprietary algorithms that enable users to search and compare flights across multiple airlines and use connections that are not necessarily available on traditional booking sites. In addition,

Kiwi has developed a self-transfer hack that allows users to save money on flights by booking two separate flights instead of a round-trip ticket.

One of the challenges for

Kiwi is that it is not yet well established in the travel industry, which may limit its ability to compete with larger, more established travel brands. However, its unique features represent a substantial competitive advantage. is China’s leading travel site, with over 400 million registered users and a presence in over 200 countries and territories. The platform specializes in transportation-related revenue, including air travel, rail travel, and car rentals.

In addition to these primary services, offers hotel bookings, vacation packages, and activities. In 2020, reported revenue of over $4.9 billion.

One of the strengths of is its extensive database of travel partners, including more than 1.4 million hotels and vacation rentals and partnerships with over 2,000 airlines and 5,000 railway companies. In addition, has established a reputation for providing excellent customer service, offering 24/7 customer support via phone and email.


TripAdvisor is a travel site known for its user-generated reviews and rankings of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. In addition to offering travel recommendations,

TripAdvisor recently introduced an Instant Booking feature that allows travelers to book accommodations directly through the site.

In 2020,

TripAdvisor reported revenue of $604 million.


TripAdvisor does not offer a comprehensive search engine like KAYAK or Skyscanner, its focus on user-generated reviews and recommendations has allowed it to establish a loyal user base of millions of travelers worldwide.

In conclusion, understanding and analyzing the competitors in the travel industry, such as Skyscanner,,

Google Travel,


Kiwi,, and

TripAdvisor, is crucial for both consumers and industry professionals. These competitors have established themselves as prominent players in the market, each offering unique features and services to cater to the diverse needs of travelers.

Brands like KAYAK continuously strive to innovate and provide users with comprehensive, real-time travel information and the best possible deals. As the travel industry continues to evolve, staying informed about the strengths and weaknesses of these competitors can help users make informed decisions and ensure a seamless travel experience.

Whether it’s discovering new booking platforms, exploring proprietary algorithms, or relying on user-generated reviews, travelers can utilize these insights to maximize their travel planning process.

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