Kayak release their data into the wild, here are some uses for it
October 9, 2009
Kayak, the meta-search travel site, have joined the trend for opening up and setting your data free by launching Kayak Trends. Trends allows you to mine through data on what’s actually being searched for on Kayak. You can view the most popular flight destinations (to or from any airport in the world) and the most searched hotels in popular destinations. The data is available on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis and I think it’s really powerful data. Why is it powerful? Because it is a clear indication of consumer trends in travel, what are people looking for right now and how do those trends change across the year. That’s got to have some uses to other people than Kayak and their website visitors.
Travel sites have a huge amount of data on search trends and consumer preferences run through their booking paths and search forms. I can’t think of anyone else who has opened this up in the online travel world. Plenty of other travel companies have merchandising lists of their top destinations etc but they are based on their sales priorities as well as popularity so quite different to this almost realtime user data (if of course it is true data and not tainted). I know of online travel firms who feed this kind of data back into their web apps but not any who give it away in this manner.
So some powerful consumer intent data, I can think of a number of ways you could use this. This is great data for anyone (competitors, affiliates) who want to know what to target destination or hotel wise. Focus on these destinations, if they’re being searched for on Kayak users want product associated with them. Put them on your websites, marketing assets and in your ECRM shots. People must surely be looking at how they can monitor or scrape this data to inform their merchandising decisions, PPC/SEO campaigns (Bid more on the destinations and hotels that are hot on Kayak. Can you assume they will be searched for more on Google when they’re in the Kayak Trends? Long tail flight terms anyone?). You could use it to inform the biasing of your search results, or even to help you highlight areas where your inventory may be lacking.
Kayak will I’m sure have thought of all of that and probably won’t be bothered as their business model is to get as many users through the site and referred on to the agents, airlines and operators from their search results, which they do extremely well.
It’s a great move and I applaud Kayak for being so open. I hope that something positive comes from this; that other online travel sites see this data and realise the power of it, and so start to collect and utilise the data their own websites generate. Too many don’t do that (you may be surprised to hear).