Lise Vives
Country Manager
Kayak
/
View from the Top

Kayak: Reinventing, Adapting for Tourists and the Industry

By Sofía Hanna | Mon, 07/18/2022 - 08:55

Q: How has KAYAK supported the recovery of the tourism sector?

A: As a travel price comparison site and digital tool, KAYAK stays on top of the needs of travelers and the industry. We continually use technology to innovate our platform, grow and provide valuable tools, especially since the pandemic began. People were not planning to travel during this time, so we had to reinvent ourselves to remain a useful tool for users. We developed different strategies, including the "Interactive Travel Restriction Map" tool, which reports countries' travel restrictions and is frequently updated to reflect any changes. We had to adapt KAYAK to the evolving environment of the tourism sector and since we realized that flexibility was essential, we added a flexible options filter to give users more options. Finally, we launched another microsite for travel industry players that eventually became the "Travel Trends" website, which displays our search data in total transparency and is updated daily. This has been a helpful tool, acclaimed by the industry in general. We also implemented changes in response to the growing remote work trend. For example, we try to help people to travel while still working, which led to another microsite called "Travel and Work Index." This website ranks 111 countries simultaneously according to how welcoming they are to those who seek to combine leisure and remote work. Mexico ranked third in North and Central America on this list, thanks to its weather, food prices, affordable accommodations, excellent internet services, and great air connectivity.

 

Q: How has KAYAK helped boost domestic travel in Mexico?

The recovery of Mexico's domestic travel segment was one of the first trends we saw. The data showed that domestic flights were the fastest to recover. For example, on March 14, 2022, compared to the same day in 2019, we had a 24% increase in searches, and we continue to see days with optimistic numbers compared to three years ago. With that in mind, we launched the "Travel Hacker Guide" to analyze trending destinations in Mexico based on search data. According to our guide, Guadalajara is now the most popular destination, followed by Monterrey, Puerto Escondido, Mexico City, San José del Cabo and Cancún. Travelers fly domestically to take a break and even work remotely. Our goal is to be an ally to help users find their next destination and personalize their travel experience. In addition, by promoting destinations, we help drive tourism to those places.

 

Q: How does the KAYAK offer stand out against other platforms in the market?

We are a metasearch engine and price comparison website for flights, accommodation, car rental, and packages. With us, users get prices in real-time and without additional charges, eliminating the need to visit different platforms and pages to compare prices. We process billions of searches a year to optimize our users' time during the travel planning process, customizing the results according to each user's preferences. We are a free service because we monetize through other agreements with industry providers, not directly through our users. Additionally, we are a technology company and are constantly updating and adding new filters, tools, and features that help us adapt to the state of the industry. For example, following the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) opening, we added a filter so that passengers can choose where their flight departs from if they have a preference.

 

Q: How is the digitalization of the tourism sector supporting the growth of KAYAK

The travel industry offers many opportunities, and we will continue to evolve alongside travelers, the industry, and suppliers. We are optimistic about the future, especially given recent data. The increasing digitalization of services has allowed us to position ourselves in the hotel industry and launch properties under the KAYAK brand. We opened our first hotel in Miami in 2021, KAYAK Miami Beach, and this year we launched two more: KAYAK Sol and KAYAK Luna, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Our medium and long-term goal is to develop software to help smaller hotels struggling to compete with the big chains in terms of technology and thus leveling opportunities within the field. For this, we have laboratory hotels to test technology and develop software based on the use and needs of the guests.

 

KAYAK searches hundreds of travel websites at once, showing users the necessary information to choose the perfect flight, hotel, rental car or travel package. We process billions of annual searches through our platforms to obtain the best results and thus help millions of travelers around the world to make the best decision.

Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst