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the www part of travel – intro April 23, 2006

Posted by Timothy Li in travel, vertical search engine, wind.
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There are three main routes for consumers to purchase flight tickets online:

  1. airlines
  2. agencies
  3. search engines

Airlines ventured online first, some of them have very old fashioned interfaces, such as ryanair.com, but they are proven and functional. Studies have shown that 50% consumers still prefer to check with whatever source first and then purchase tickets through airline website themselves for the peace of mind. Some example of airlines:

  • aircanada.com
  • united.com
  • ryanair.com

Online travel agencies have emerged since the web 1.0 age. Access to the cheapest fare data has became a crucial issue recently since the airlines have started a fence-in movement to pull business transactions in-house to reduce cost. The implication of this will be discussed in a later post. Some examples of agencies:

  • Expedia.com
  • Travelocity.com
  • Orbitz.com

Web 2.0 brought within its wave many vertical search engines, or meta-search engines, equipped with fancy interface technologies. Two extraordinary travel search engines are Kayak.com and mobissimo.com. Their revenue is not directly tied to commissions from the airlines, and this gave them a better position to provide greater coverage. Some examples of search engines:

  • Kayak.com
  • mobissimo.com
  • sidestep.com

seems to be a very competitive market place. competition is good right? the next question might tell –

are consumers happy with the current setup?

I've came through quite a few blog posting regarding each of these available services. the general tone is that these services are NOT as good as they could be.

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