NORWALK, Conn. --
Former key officials in Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia and Intuit
plan to launch a travel search engine by the end of the month that
will allow consumers to probe multiple supplier and online agency
Web sites to shop for air, hotel, car and cruise bookings.
The forces behind
Kayak Software [www.kayak.com] believe they have the industry
knowledge, the technology and financing to become a force in the
meta search arena, which they view as the next stage in online
its initial financing from General Catalyst Partners, a venture
capital firm in Boston that also invested in NLG and of which
former Travelocity CEO Terry Jones is a special venture
Jones is the
chairman of Kayak Software, which is headquartered here and has
technology teams in Bangalore, India, and Maynard, Mass. The
co-founder and CEO is Steve Hafner, former executive vice president
of consumer travel at Orbitz. The other co-founder and the chief
technology officer is Paul English, the ex-vice president of
technology at Intuit, the software company behind Quicken and
former senior vice president of destinations and lodging at
Expedia, is a director and investor.
TravelWeekly.com that 70% of travel buyers on the Web search
multiple sites before they book, and need better tools to
facilitate the hunt.
Enter Kayak. He
said if Kayak doesnt have a relationship with a supplier, then it
will access the content through an online agency.
Once users view
the search results, they will have several booking options. If they
click on inventory from a Kayak business partner, the consumer will
be transported directly into the partners shopping cart, English
If you choose a
booking option [from someone] who is not yet a partner, we might
drop you off to a different place in the search/select/pay cycle,
Hotels.com were among the online agencies advertising last week on
the Kayak preview site. Kayak has about 30 employees. A technology
team in India developed the search technology and user
costs a contentious issue, Kayak will offer suppliers and agencies
low-cost alternatives, English said.
model is similar to Googles in that it is based on a cost per
click, English said. The supplier or online agency pays only when a
user clicks to book.
We believe a huge
part of Googles business is from travel, English said.
team in Maynard, Mass., meanwhile, is working on a second product
to make the vacation-shopping experience more interactive and
comprehensive, English said. Consumer reviews, chat and Internet
telephony are part of the mix, he said.
reporter Dennis Schaal, send e-mail to [email protected]ntmllc.com.