Priceline Group, the travel giant, is planning to purchase Momondo and Cheapflights for $550 Million and merge it into Kayak to create a leading global travel search brand! I’m a big fan of Kayak and have used Momondo. Find out what this acquisition will mean to travelers!
According to Skift, the purchase was driven by Kayak’s challenges in the UK, Russia and Scandinavia. Markets, where Momondo and Cheapflights have been successful and developed strong brands. Momondo and Cheapfligths will be rolled into Kayak and all three search engines are expected to share a common platform, while maintaining the brands for different markets.
Consolidation in travel can be a two-edged sword – sometimes, it’ll mean a stronger company and better service for travelers. And sometimes, it means reduced competition and higher prices. In this case, I think it’s a positive development and here is why:
I have recommended Kayak as my go-to search engine for air fare. Kayak is a meta-search engine, that means they search countless internet sites and show you all the prices they find, but then you are send to those sites to book your flight ticket. Different from Expedia or Priceline, you can’t book a ticket directly on Kayak. And Kayak consistently delivers the best fares on searches I have done…. with possibly a few exceptions: In Europe and for smaller airlines.
Momondo is a similar meta-search site for airline tickets and based on my experience, their strength is were Kayak has a weak spot: Europe and small airlines. I can occasionally find better fares for European flights on Momondo than on Kayak. Given the markets Momondo has been strongest, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Let’s hope those “strengths” will survive when the three sites start to share the same platform.
And a few times, for example for a recent trip to Myanmar, Kayak had nothing to offer, but Momondo did show fares for some small, local airlines and made them available through online travel agencies (OTA). In this case, Momondo showed prices from some small, European OTAs with very questionable business practices and poor service. In my case eDreams who has pretty poor customer feedback, offered a ticket, but does not provide any service with it, even an update on flight changes or cancellations. I’m still in the process of getting my money back for a cancelled flight!
Incorporating Momondo into Kayak will increase the range of what air fares you will find and give you a better shot at being able to buy a ticket online and at the best available price, regardless of where you are traveling. Let’s hope that in the process Kayak weeds out some of the questionable partners Momondo has for a more reliable booking experience!
For the time being, you’ll still have to go to Kayak, Momondo or Cheapflights to find the best deal. I will keep you posted on the integration of the companies!