Kayak Launches Direct Hotel Booking Feature as It Preps for an IPO
Travel search company Kayak has just announced that it will begin handling hotel reservations itself, rather than just referring customers to its partner sites when they are ready to book a room. This marks Kayak’s expansion beyond just aggregating travel information, so users can research and reserve their travel needs.
Kayak is introducing the “Book Now” feature in limited beta, but the simple booking process will be available on its website and mobile apps in the coming weeks. Customers will still have the option to book their hotel rooms elsewhere. But the move will help keep users on the Kayak site, rather than driving them elsewhere to complete their purchases.
When the company filed for its IPO last year, it reported that it had generated revenues of $128 million for the year-to-date, a 48% increase from the previous year. The site also said that it had seen an almost 40% increase in traffic.
But as Kayak prepares for its IPO it needs to continue to grow that revenue and traffic and to fend off competitors in travel search. The most obvious of these is Google, which is in the process of buying the travel information provider ITA Software. In order to defend itself against this, Kayak announced last week that it had partnered with Bing in order to feature Kayak data in Bing search results.