AOL Enters the Online Travel MarketNew service will compete with sites like Travelocity.com and Expedia.
Scarlet Pruitt, IDG News Service
America Online is aiming to get a piece of the travel search market, announcing plans to introduce a new Web-based property to compete with the likes of Travelocity.com and Expedia.
The Internet company is making a minority investment in interactive services company Kayak Software to get the travel search site off the ground. The Kayak.com search engine will power the new travel comparison site, and the two companies will work in partnership on marketing and technology, AOL says.
AOL did not say exactly when the new property would launch, but says that it will complement its existing offerings, and mark the beginning in a series of new travel offerings from the company.
AOL, in Dulles, Virginia, forecast strong growth in the online travel sales market, adding that a vast majority of these sales will be done with the aid of searches.
Searching for Revenue
Search has become the new killer application for the major Internet players. AOL, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all signaled their intentions to get a bigger piece of the growing market. The travel search segment is one that AOL believes has particular potential and will be a primary category focus for the company, it says.
The news comes as AOL is looking to tighten up its ship, in part by slashing costs and realigning its business from being focused on Internet access to greater revenue-generating Net services.
Kayak, created by the founders of Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia, offers fares and rates from over 60 online sites in addition to user-generated content relevant information, AOL says.
Kayak, in Norwalk, Connecticut, currently has a beta travel comparison site up at Kayak.com.
Note: PCWorld.com has a partnership agreement to provide content to AOL.