Fifteen years after its launch as one of the first consumer travel metasearch solutions, Kayak is expanding into corporate travel with the launch of Kayak for Business.
Companies can request to join a waitlist; Kayak will choose a few to use the product in pre-beta, with the full beta launching publicly later this month.
The free tool will function as a meta-engine, showing employees comprehensive options for flights and hotels, with car rentals to be added in the future.
Corporate clients load their travel policies and preferred approval flow into the system, so as employees search they can see which options fall within that policy.
Kayak says it expects the system to appeal to small- and mid-size businesses and startups. But unlike other travel management solutions targeted to this sector, such as Lola, TravelPerk, TripActions and TravelBank, Kayak says initially it will not offer support from human agents.
"This is a big reason that our service is free. Our users can rely on existing customer service options, including supplier direct, online travel agencies or even their corporate travel agency if they have one. In the future, we plan to add ways for travelers to opt-in for concierge-level or partner-specific customer service when they need it," the company says in an email.
Kayak says more details about the concierge services will be released later this month, but it did not respond to a question of whether the platform provides tools related to duty of care.
The company says the idea for Kayak for Business developed out of its own internal needs to manage its employees' travel.
The past year has seen a flurry of activity in corporate travel. Lola partnered with American Express Global Business Travel in November 2018 and in March raised $37 million. TravelPerk completed a $104 million Series C round in July, and TripActions banked $250 million in June.
Companies in this space have also regularly been adding new product features to entice clients -- most recently TravelBank, which launched a three-in-one "SuperItinerary" tool in September.
According to Phocuswright's U.S. Corporate Travel Report 2018-2022, managed travel represents a third of the total travel market in the United States and will reach $138 billion by 2022, with 86% of that spending taking place online.
In mid-October Kayak announced a partnership with Wanderu that adds flights to Wanderu's ground transportation search system.