Meta-Searching Your Way to Low Fares With Kayak.com

By mkeagymkeagy (1257131767|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Kayak at a Glance

Kayak.com is a nifty search engine for finding the cheapest prices on flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, etc. Unlike other common travel search tools, Kayak is a meta-search engine, aggregating results from hundereds of other individual site like Orbitz and airline's own websites. The result is an easy-to-use search engine that reliably provides the lowest prices around. Kayak was named one of TIME Magazine's "50 Coolest Websites" of 2006.

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Using Kayak

Kayak.com is incredibly user friendly. The home page features your standard travel search form that allows searches contingent on flexibility, brand preferences, layovers, etc. Where Kayak really stands out from the competion is in the accuracy of the search results as well as the ability to modify and filter results on a variety of factors. My favorite tools on the site are the fare alerts, fare charts, and ability to modify multiple factors simultaneously without re-submitting the search. Kayak has a handy iPhone app available as well for mobile searches.

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Kayak as a Business

What differentiates Kayak from many other travel search tools is that it does not allow users to book reservations or tickets directly through the site. Instead, Kayak links the user to whatever site is the source of the search result and the user books through them instead. Kayak has an ad-supported business model. Revenues come from ads in the margins of search results, as well as pay-per-click (PPC) from directing users to their respective sites to book tickets.

Kayak was founded in 2004 by co-founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia. Kayak.com was launched in 2005 and to date, has raised over $230 million in capital. The company is headquartered in Norwalk, CT.

One last really cool thing…

Under the About Us section of the site, users can filter the profiles of the company's leadership by multiple factors like education, humor, and hotness. Fairly pointless, but entertaining.

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