Hafner reveals his admiration for new acquisition Momondo Group, expresses his bother at Trivago's ad spend, and pooh-poohs Skyscanner's analytics approach in a frank discussion that cut to the core of what makes metasearch different.
Metasearch has tried to make sense of the multiple travel booking options available to consumers, but metasearch itself has become a crowded field.
At Skift Forum Europe in London earlier this month, CEOs and top executives from Momondo Group, Skyscanner, Trivago, and Kayak spoke about the competitive landscape and their respective advantages over their rivals.
Kayak CEO Steve Hafner, who was interviewed by Skift Executive Editor Dennis Schaal, played the role of the industry veteran, both because of Kayak’s early moves in the space and because of its pending acquisition of Momondo Group, which operates Cheapflights and Momondo — “Two great companies that we’ve admired for some time,” as Hafner described them.
Hafner returned repeatedly to the topic of consumer choice. “People want to price shop,” he said. “The best place to buy a hotel is on the hotel’s own website, the best place to buy an airline ticket is on the airline’s own website. But people still need to cross shop and Kayak, Skyscanner, Expedia, those are all good places to cross shop.”
Despite a similar product, Hafner argued that there are clear differences in user experience and what the sites ultimately offer. “We’re not selling flavored water,” he said. “We actually do have different search results, different technology, speed, comprehensiveness, accuracy all matters.”
Hafner also offered a glimpse into his competitive focus: “What energizes me is the self-awareness that our product still stinks. It’s better than the competition in a number of ways, but ultimately as a consumer our service is not where I want it to be.”
You can watch the full discussion below.
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At this year’s inaugural Skift Forum Europe in London, travel leaders from around the world gathered for a days of inspiration, information, and conversation on the future of travel.
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