Price comparison sites advancing quicker than traditional operators

August 29, 2007

Online travel is growing exponentially, approx 40% of UK travel consumers are expected to book at least one part of their holiday next year online. All the players are expanding their online activities to try to meet this demand but the ones who are really innovating will (in my opinion) be the winners.

Currently, the innovation (and by that I mean really useful innovation) is coming from some of the price comparison / fare aggregator websites.

I’ll start with Kayak; they’ve added a really nice and simple piece of functionality which adds a lot of value to the consumer. Their ‘weekend search’ allows users to compare air fares for the weekend periods across a month instead of having to specify exactly which dates they want. This is a real bonus for those of us who like to get away for weekend breaks quite often. Simple functions like this can dramatically improve conversion rates as users find websites more accommodating to their needs, and of course you can still get your results in a multitude of displays (list, matrix, map, price trend graph etc). See the image below showing the results from a search for November weekend availability, they quickly show users what is the cheapest weekend to travel.

Next comes Farecast; they’ve added functionality to their hotels search to enable users to pick out whats a good deal and whats not. Hotels are now colour coded depending on whether Farecast considers them a good deal. It’s only available on certain destinations and hotels at the moment but they promise to expand their coverage quite quickly. It’s a big step forward if you’re a price sensitive online shopper (as most travellers are). Example of the map based results below:

Lastly comes SideStep; another aggregator of airfares and hotel availability. FareTracker is their latest offering which has just come out in Beta. It allows users to track a flight route to see how the fare has moved over time. It leverages the millions of searches that are happening on SideStep to find the lowest fares for any combination of flight plans with the greatest degree of date flexibility in the market today: +/- 7 days from a specified date. In addition to monitoring price, users can select to recieve weekly email updates or updates as the prices change, receive an email notification if the price reaches a specified price point (a trigger to buy) and track historical fare pricing for the route chosen. It all mounts up to a serious piece of functionality, although incredibly similar in premise to Travelemails.com. Again, here’s a screenshot:

This kind of innovation knocks spots off the offerings from traditional travel operators such as tour operators. Even some of the other, sometimes better known, price comparison sites (Travel Supermarket, Kelkoo etc) struggle to offer anything innovative like this.

A time will come when tour operators and the likes either have to catch up quick or get their product included in these aggregators and start to pay commissions like an affiliate scheme.

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2 Responses to “Price comparison sites advancing quicker than traditional operators”

  1. "Internet Marketer" Says:

    SmarterDeals – A Price Comparison Engine Provides Internet Marketing as Add-On Services at No Cost

    The management at SmarterDeals.com recently launched their Add-on services of Internet Marketing to their monthly paid customers who have been receiving online quality traffic through http://www.smarterdeals.com.

    SmarterDeals is a leading price comparison engine to compare prices for Computer Hardware, Software, Electronics, Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Camcorder Accessories, Computer Cables and Accessories, Games, Xbox 360, DVD Player, Cellphone Accessories, GPS, GPS Accessories, Video Recorder, Notebook Accessories, Flash Memory & Readers, Motherboard Accessories, PDA and PDA Accessories, etc.

    “If you are tired of paying $0.50 or more per click on other price comparison engines and looking for a better option, you’re in luck because http://www.smarterdeals.com has come up with a money saving program that blows away the competition”, said Avnish Saxena, VP – Marketing and Sales of SmarterDeals.com, “You pay once lowest monthly posting fee and you would receive unlimited click throughs”, he added.

    Unlike other famous online comparison engines, SmarterDeals.com focuses mainly on the Computers, Electronics and Web Technology market. Shoppers can search, compare and save on renowned Computer Hardware, Software, and Electronic products. On the other hand, SmarterDeals has made it simple for merchants to join and post their entire catalog for shoppers to search and compare prices. Merchants can login and submit their data feed including detailed pricing information that is updated daily.

    “As per our recent Cost-Per-Click Report for the month of July 2007, I am delighted to inform that SmarterDeals was successful of providing traffic to most of its partners at very nominal cost of $0.30 which is not only economical but also very competitive as compared to other price comparison engines in US” proclaimed Avnish Saxena, “This all happened due to the continuous efforts towards introducing our Personalized Promotional Services (PPS) to our long standing customers”.

    SmarterDeals’ Personalized Promotional Services (PPS) include: Personalized marketing campaigns, Distribution of one-way linking, Submission to Directories and Search Engines, Articles writing and distribution, Blogs creation, Content submission to Bookmarking sites, Logo display with each product on its website, Banner Display at SmarterDeals’ Header, Logo Display at Homepage under “Featured Stores”, Products Promotion through SmarterDeals’ Weekly eNewsletter, and much more.

    In nutshell, SmarterDeals is not only providing Price Comparison Services but also pay special attention to its regular customers by promoting their products distinctly.

  2. dan Says:

    Hi,

    I would also suggest a travel site called Trabber.co.uk

    I hope you find it interesting.


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