What is the business model of kayaks
Interview with kayak boss : "Germans tend to stay in the country"
From Expedia to Ab-in-den-Urlaub and Fluege.de: You don't have to get the impression that there aren't enough travel portals in Germany. Why is there still a need for a kayak, Mr. Petzinger?
We don't have our own offers like Expedia, but are a service that searches the web for travel offers. We see ourselves as a technology company active in the travel sector. We develop filters and planning tools. We do not limit ourselves to one aspect, but cover hotels, rental cars, package tours and, more recently, holiday homes as well as flights.
Trivago and Opodo are also so-called meta search engines. You bought Swoodoo in 2010. In the end, aren't they all accessing the same data?
Yes and no. Speed plays a major role - we ask for prices in real time. We calculate any additional costs for credit card fees directly if you set the filter accordingly. So we continue to work with the data to make it more usable. What you will find at Swoodoo and Kayak is basically the same, just processed differently, that's true.
Why didn't you put the pages together?
We thought about that over and over again. Kayak is the bigger name internationally, but Germans are not easy to get used to. In other words: they are very loyal once you have inspired them. We have to spend a lot more money here than anywhere else to get people. Swoodoo is clearly ahead. I think there is room for both sides.
What is your business model like?
This is based on two pillars: On the one hand, travel providers can place advertisements with us and do it very specifically. On the other hand, we get commissions when we direct traffic to other sites. Flights account for the lion's share of our inquiries, but we earn more money with hotels. The margin is highest for rental cars.
Again and again there are studies that find that going to a travel agency is better advice than booking online.
Booking a trip online is not always fun. There are time limits, sometimes you lose track of things, some may be overwhelmed by this offer. There are specialists in travel agencies, the internet gives you the chance to become a specialist yourself. I think it depends on how much you want to be taken by the hand. In a travel agency they would not tell you: Wait two more weeks, then experience has shown that it is cheaper. We do this because we want to offer the best service.
Despite various attempts at regulation, many consumers still complain about hidden costs when booking a flight. How reliable are your prices?
We do what we can. We talk to partners and hold them responsible: We need correct information. Otherwise our credibility will suffer. We also test ourselves. Our dilemma is: We want to cover the entire range, and that is no longer fulfilled if we exclude certain providers.
You can also filter by ratings. How reliable is that?
We are accessing three types of data. The biggest difference to Tripadvisor, for example, is that anyone can post reviews there. With us only people who were actually there - i.e. travelers who booked through us. We also incorporate reviews from Booking.com and rankings from Trustyou, which work in the same way.
Zika virus, terrorism - where can you still go?
We are having difficult times. The weak stock exchanges also unsettle many. We do not know where we are heading. All of this creates a trend towards more safety tourism. Egypt, for example, in itself a large travel destination for Germans, is currently difficult again. As a result, Germans tend to stay in the country. The aviation division is generally weaker this year.
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