From Kayak's perspective, in additional to the big payday, international expansion was what the Priceline deal was all about.
Kayak launched sites in Australia and the Netherlands, and plans to debut in six additional countries in the next couple of weeks, with many of the sites being hotel-only, at least in the beginning.
The six additional countries on the launch agenda are Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, and Belgium.
Priceline, which acquired Kayak for $1.8 billion in May, clearly energized the pace of Kayak’s site launches.
“International growth has long been a strategic objective for Kayak and one of the most significant synergies provided by joining The Priceline Group,” said Kayak CEO Steve Hafner. “It took our team four years to reach our first eight markets. We’re now equipped to move much faster and plan to continue expanding in 2014.”
When these eight websites are live, Kayak will have local websites in 27 countries, including the eight new ones plus U.S., Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Austria, France and Italy, for example.
From an initial look at the new Netherlands and Australia sites, it’s clear you will be seeing a lot more of sister company Booking.com.
For example, if you decide to book a hotel through the “Kayak” booking option on the Kayak Netherlands site, Booking.com will actually handle the reservation and customer service. However, on Kayak Australia, Expedia’s Hotels.com is the partner that carries out those duties.
Booking.com, which like Kayak is part of the Priceline Group, is also promoted on the Kayak Netherlands homepage.
While the Australia and New Zealand sites are slated for a full suite of services — hotels, flights, cars and holidays (vacation packages) — the Netherland, Ireland, Mexico, Belgium, Hong Kong and Singapore sites will debut only offering hotels, although users will be able to click over to Kayak.com (U.S.) for additional products.
Hong Kong and Singapore are launching in English, and the company projects that their respective native languages will be incorporated later this year.
In expanding internationally and emphasizing hotels, Kayak is trying to reduce its dependence on flights, and to compete with Expedia’s hotel-only Trivago, among other rivals.
“We will fully localize each site over the coming weeks,” a Kayak spokesperson says.
Kayak plans more such announcements in the future as it expands in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.
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Photo credit: Kayak debuted sites in The Netherland and Australia, and sites in Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand and Belgium will follow shortly. PlaceIt by Breezi