Video: Kayak CEO Says He Wants to Give Consumers a Choice

Credit: skift.com



Skift Take: Hafner reveals his admiration for new acquisition Momondo Group, expresses his bother at Trivago's add spend, and pooh-poohs Skyscanner's analytics approach in a frank discussion that cut to the core of what makes metasearch different.

— Jason Clampet

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.


Note: Initial planning is in full-swing for our flagship event Skift Global Forum, which will be held September 26-27 in New York City. We wanted to make sure our most loyal Skift readers were able to purchase their tickets early and were rewarded for doing so. That’s why we’ve re-opened up our previously sold out early bird discount for an additional 35 tickets. Attendees can now save $800 per ticket on the largest creative business conference in travel.



Read more coverage of Skift Forum Europe 2017.


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.


Visit our Skift Global Forum site for more details about 2017 events, including our New York City event September 26-27.


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