News of the Kayak-Sidestep deal is sinking in on both sides of the Atlantic.
Travolution has collated some reaction - most of it, unfortunately, off-the-record - from various bosses of online travel companies and representatives from both companies.
Boss of rival UK search engine:
Given the promise of travel search has yet to be fully proven with the mass market consumer, this is consolidation too early. Are they buying/merging brand or technology or client relationships?Steve Hafner, Kayak chief executive and founder:
Maybe they are consolidating to be bought by a generic search engine?
Kayak.com is a technology company focused on perfecting travel search, and SideStep.com is a media company with in-house sales expertise and user-generated content.Another meta search boss:
By merging, each brand can improve its offering while continuing to focus on its individual strengths. With less than 10% overlap between existing Kayak.com and SideStep.com users, each site stands to gain millions of new users.
Kayak want to dominate the meta search market in the US and as both sites are very similar they have simply bought more users and share. WhatRob Solomon, Sidestep chief executive:
I am impressed with is taking on over £197m debt to finance the purchase. It will be interesting year in 2008.
I do not see a huge impact for us, as both Kayak and especially Sidestep have made no real ground this year in terms of market share or acquisition of visitors. Even their combined market share is still relatively small.
From its inception as the first travel search engine, SideStep.com believed that consumers would prefer an objective and comprehensive travel shopping experience.Former Sidestep senior executive:
Joining forces with Kayak.com will help make this vision a reality for mass market consumers.
Yes, big news - good for both I believe.UK online travel chief executive:
Great vote of confidence in travel search. Kayak has always had a slight tech edge.Thoughts?
Great to see both firms becoming profitable: again, underlines the attractiveness of travel search as a business.
Thrilled that an East Coast tech company is doing so well.
A more powerful Kayak is just like a successful Google or Travelzoo, helping to convince travel companies that advertising on the web is more cost effective than traditional media.
The acquisition means that Kayak becomes a very clear leader in the USA in meta search with only very small companies (eg Mobissimo, Farechase) now to compete with.
Kevin May, editor, Travolution
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