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April Fools Day / Virgin Atlantic / Southwest / Kayak / Google / WestJet / Bad Ideas / Comedy Travel / → All Tags
Someday, someone will explain to us the mirth to be found in having the Internet become useless every year on April 1st. It's not that we harbor any hostility toward people who write things that are false but plausible, and who then giggle when people belieactually, no. Those people are ridiculous and they make the world a worse place to live.
There was maybe a marginal justification for their existence when the Internet was younger. Back then April Fools' Day pranks were the web advertising equivalent of Superbowl commercials. But now that the White House is posting pranks the whole thing is just grating.
On its business side Kayak has been rapidly maturing and stabilizing. The travel aggregation site recently settled on the Kenshoo Enterprise digital marketing platform, which doesn't sound important but is kind of a big deal.
Immediately afterward Kayak launched a site redesign that tried to unify its look and feel across a bunch of platforms, something that had been an issue since all the way back in 2009 when execs tweaked their business model so they could get into mobile. So that's the adult "we're making progress and doing things rationally" angle.
But on the advertising side, there might be something amiss. Mentally amiss.
There are of course many approaches to advertising in general, and to travel advertising in particular. The old conventional wisdom about adsdifferentiation differentiation boobs differentiationhas given way to a wide array of new techniques, many focused on social sharing and not a few of them enhanced by contests, games, and puzzles. Picking and choosing a smart combination of old and new is difficult, and companies will very often go for death or sex because those are easy ways to get attention.
And then there are the recent videos from travel aggregator Kayak. At the risk of falling into cliche, whatever their advertising people are smoking seems to be strong. Exceptionally strong. There's also the possibility that they're totally sober and somebody slipped something into our food. But someone in the production/consumption cycle of these ads is baked out of their minds.
Google / Orbitz / Kayak / Hipmunk / Technology / Travel Websites / Travel News / Travel Industry / Airline Industry / → All Tags
Last May we told you that Google was getting into the travel business, with the Mountain View search giant having just acquired travel software company ITA. ITA provides the algorithms that power sites like Orbitz, Kayak, and CheapTickets - to say nothing of handling schedules for a bunch of airlines - and that's pretty much all it does. So Google's intentions weren't exactly inscrutable, even if the exact details of what they wanted with ITA weren't totally clear.
Then a few months later flight schedules started showing up in Google results. That wasn't particularly exciting in and of itself, but it banished any remaining doubts about whether Google was getting into the flight search game. And so no one was really surprised when, earlier this week, Google finally launched their new Google Flight Search. It's exactly what you think it is, and you can check it out here.
The Fourth of July may be on Sunday, but we're already looking toward another nation's patriotic holiday, Bastille Day, on July 14. It's a big celebration, like the French equivalent of our Independence Day. If you want to party Parisian style for the big day, head to Paris.
The problem is, a last-minute trip to Paris is going to cost you, since it's in the middle of tourist season. But we found a couple of packages that will get you there in time for Bastille Day festivities.
Memorial Day Travel / Culture Travel / Travel Deals / England Travel / London Travel / Greece Travel / Australia Travel / Travelzoo / Kayak / → All Tags
Memorial Day is about three weeks away, which means one thing: vacation time. While lazing on the beach is always tempting, you should probably go some place where you can learn something. We'll help you culture vultures can make the most of your extended weekend.
See our picks for Memorial Day culture getaways after the jump.
Airline Fees / Checked Baggage Fees / Kayak / Spirit Airlines / Carry-on Baggage Fees / Airlines / → All Tags
Just a small sample
The "Airline Fees" chart assembled by Kayak.com might seem like a just a bunch of numbers and airlines, but next time you book a flight and wonder exactly how much you'll be paying in hidden fees, it'll be a lifesaver. The chart is actually the best we've seen of fee charts, and it even allows you to filter the long list by specific airlines. For instance, if you're trying to decide between Southwest and Spirit, filter the list down to the two and you'll see that Spirit wants to charge you for both carry-on and checked baggage and Southwest lets you go free on both accounts (and they'll even throw in a small snack).
The goal of the ever-changing airline baggage fees is to put one over on the uninformed traveler, who arrives to the airport with two checked bags and is shocked that they charge for this now, but has to pay up anyway. One thing we try to do is get baggage fee information out to you, and help you to be informed travelers who either decide to go all-carryon or come to the airport prepared to sacrifice $30 to get your luggage on the same flight as you. But now thanks to their iPhone app, KAYAK is helping to untangle the web of baggage fees as well.
The travel booking site has a very easy-to-use (and free) iPhone app downloadable from iTunes, that recently underwent a sweet upgrade to include the ability to search hotels by name, send emails with search results, filter airport searches better and see a complete list of airlines and their respective baggage fees.
LOST / Lost-Season-6 / Television Travel / TV Travel / Kayak / Lost Travel / Travel Websites / Hotels / → All Tags
Anticipating next week's kickoff of Lost Season 6, the programmers at travel metasearch engine Kayak have buried a Lost-related easter egg deep in their site. If you've ever yearned to crack open the secrets to the Dharma Initiativeor not, as the case may beyou now have a chance to book a seat on Oceanic Flight 815, the route that began the entire mind-bending adventure. Via Mashable, all you have to do is punch in the right settings, hit Kayak's "Search" button, and an option for the self-evidently bad idea appears.
You can't really book the reservation, of course. Trying to lock it in will take you to a Lost Wikipedia entry on the doomed trans-Pacific flight. But it's still a nice little timewaster, especially if you're an obsessed fan. To unlock the easter egg, plug in a request for a SYD-LAX flight like you normally would. It has to be a one-way flight and the day has to be set for September 22, 2010, the series having aired for the first time on September 22, 2004. The price of the ticket is $4839 so you might want to sort by reverse price order after you get the results. If you've done everything right and you look down a couple rows, there it will be.
Have you started using TripIt yet to organize your travel plans into one little online spot? Kayak hopes you haven't because they just went and started doing the same thing as TripIt with the new "Kayak Trips" feature.
No matter which you prefer, both will instruct you to forward your confirmation emails to them, and they will organize the information into an easy-to-reference itinerary page. This goes for car rentals, flights, hotel reservations and (on TripIt), attraction tickets. The only major difference right now is that TripIt already has an iPhone app that allows you to manage your itinerary via mobile, whereas Kayak's iPhone integration of Trips is still in the works. But then Kayak's been too busy dropping millions to get you to pay attention to them in the first place, so we suppose they're hoping to attract all those who both haven't heard of them nor TripIt.
· Kayak Launches Free Itinerary Management Tool: Kayak Trips [Kayak News]
· Kayak Launches Massive Old-Fashioned Ad Blitz [Jaunted]
· Kayak coverage [Jaunted]
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.'