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Travel Advertising / Kayak / Travelocity / Travel Booking Sites / Travel Ads / Travel Websites / → All Tags
You'd think the recession would have catapulted price comparison engine Kayak.com into universal traveler awareness. The company's internal figures, though, tell a different story. Less than 1/3 of the more than 100 million Americans who use travel booking sites know about Kayak. Even less are able to differentiate Kayak from similar-on-first-look but significantly different competitors like Expedia. In a move that's bound to raise eyebrows in the travel industry and among travel advertisers, the company is shifting their resources into a massive offline ad campaign.
The new ad blitz was launched over the weekend and is set to blanket primetime cable through 2010. CNN, ESPN, and MSNBC have all been selected as venues, presumably on numbers promising that most coveted of travel industry demographics: 25-44 year olds with disposable income. Forbes.com has a full writeup on the campaign, including a description of one of the "witty 30 second spots":
Microsoft's new Bing search engine hasn't even been available to the public for a month yet and already it's under fire for potentially copying the site's design from good old Kayak. We have to admit that we thought it looked a little too familiar, and the people at Wired recently tore it apart and aired claims on both sides:
There’s no question Bing feels like Kayak. When Microsoft showed us the search engine under embargo, this reporter’s first comment upon seeing the travel page demo’d was 'This looks like Kayak.'
Kayak noticed too. 'We have contacted them through official channels about concerns about the similarities between Bing and Kayak,' Kayak’s CMO told Wired.com 'From the look and feel of their travel product, they seem to agree with our approach to the market.'
That’s careful language for 'Microsoft copied our stuff wholesale.'
Active Travel / Maine Travel / Races / Kayak / Canoe / → All Tags
We don't know about you, but we've been craving to tackle some whitewater lately and a canoe is as good as anything. In only a couple of weeks, the Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver Championships takes place, and although we're pretty good with paddles, we not quite ready for this level. Nonetheless, things get underway on July 1 and finish up on July 5 in West Forks, Maine on the Lower Dead River. With a name like that, we’ll just be spectators for this one, thank you very much.
For those that prefer a kayak for their water adventures, the Kayak Downriver National Championships will also be heading downriver soon. All races are set along an almost 13-mile course where paddlers will run into about 30 different sets of class II and III rapids. If speed is more your thing, there will be sprint races on July 3. Here, competitors will be trying their best to get through a 1.2-mile course as quickly as possible.
From the details on the races, it sounds like anyone is welcome to register to compete (so long as you can swim), as registration only has to take place one day in advance. However, we’re thinking that this isn’t for those used to a casual paddle around a calm bay or through some wetlands. Officials estimate that the sprint races can be done in only seven minutes, depending on the water level.
Related Stories: [Photo of a different race: penguinchris]
·2009 ACA WWOCD National Championships [Official Site]
·Canoe, Kayak Championships in West Forks, Maine, July 1-5 [MaineBusiness.com]
·Active Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo of a different race: penguinchris]
Travel News Briefs / Shamrock Seeds / Dhani Jones / Kayak / iPhone Applications / Air Asia / → All Tags
With so much travel news raining down on us, we don't always have time to give every story its own forecast. Here's more of the day's news, in brief.
· Where's Your Lucky Leprechaun When You Need Him?: Just days before St. Paddy's Day, feds targeted an Aer Lingus flight arriving in DC and shook down passengers to find prohibited meat and SHAMROCK SEEDS. Yes, it is illegal to bring shamrock seeds over from Ireland. But those FBI t-shirts (Full Blooded Irish) are totally fine. [MSNBC]
· Move Over, Playboy Bunny: A new TV show premieres on the Travel Channel tonight--"Dhani Tackles the Globe." Tune in at 9pm to watch NFL lineback Dhani Jones explore the world through sports. [Travel Channel]
· Kayak Gets an iPhone App: While we haven't been quite thrilled with the iPhone travel apps put forth so far, Kayak has gotten in on the game with its airfare application. [CNET]
Not to be outdone by TripAdvisor’s latest offering, Kayak has a little something up its sleeve. After hearing about what the competition has to offer, the travel meta-search king sent out a press release to illustrate what still makes it number one.
CEO Steve Hafner lets us known that he’s flattered that TripAdvisor has mimicked his site’s design, but tells us that Kayak’s caliber of results still sets it apart. Uh-oh, the travel bookings/review site feud is on!
Now, Kayak is creeping in on TripAdvisor's turf by launching their own hotel review website. TravelPost is going to, or at least hope to, take travel reviews to the next level. It promises to search over 200 travel sites to bring you the latest in reviews, information, and rates.
If we were TripAdvisor, we’d be worried. Sure, they have all the review mojo now, but they’ve kind of been resting on their laurels and Kayak is definitely up to the challenge.
Remember that American Airlines-Kayak feud that started earlier this summer? After AA got upset with the way the booking engine was posting its fare data, Kayak yanked the info, leading to allegations from both sides about who started the trouble.
On August 5, AA filed a lawsuit in Texas asking the court to stop Kayak from using its fare info--and for damages. Right before the holiday weekend, the booking site filed its answer--and its counterclaims.
Just days ago, we were praising Kayak for being transparent about its role in an ongoing saga with American Airlines about whether or not the fare search aggregator should be allowed to show the airline's pricing info. But one thing we didn't hear about on the official Kayak blog this week? A lawsuit AA filed against the company on August 5.
In the court papers, American alleges that Kayak:
Displayed American fare content obtained from Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com. [Kayak] would display American fare content ... above the AA.com listings. This siphoning of American fare content from other websites undermined American's efforts to reduce its distribution costs and violated the plain terms of [an agreement between the two companies].
The ultimate decision to pull American's fare content was made by Kayak on June 30, when the search company terminated the agreement it had with AA about displaying the carrier's inventory.
Today is day one of No-AA-Fares-on-Kayak, and the travel search aggregator has issued a statement that finally clarifies why you won't be seeing American Airlines' fare info on the site anymore. (You'll still be able to check the carrier's schedules, but to find the actual cost of those flights, you'll have to manually check another site.)
Here's Kayak's explanation:
American asked us to suppress search results from online travel agency partners as a condition to displaying their fares on Kayak.com and SideStep.com. We remain committed to providing a comprehensive and objective display to our users.
Therefore, Kayak.com and SideStep.com are displaying schedules only (not prices) for American Airlines flights.
We shouldn't have to tell you that American has yet to release its own version of events--except of course for a brief statement the carrier sent to Budget Travel. Where did Kayak release its statement? Its own blog, natch.
From August 1, Jaunted's preferred travel search engine, Kayak, won't be displaying fares for American Airlines flights. While TechCrunch, which originally reported the story, says that's because the aggregator "tends to show AA flights through its partnership with Orbitz instead of directly from American," this screen capture clearly shows that's but one option Kayak supplies bargain hunters.
In fact, CEO Steve Hafner (or someone using his name) clarified, leaving a comment on TechCrunch:
American asked us to suppress search results from competing websites as a condition to displaying their fares. This is simply not something that Kayak will do.