Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online editor

Caitlin covers social media, marketing and technology and is BRW's social media editor. She has worked as a journalist in Sydney, London and San Francisco, writing for titles including The Guardian and The Australian Financial Review.

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Travel search engine Kayak lands in Australia

Published 03 October 2013 11:40, Updated 04 October 2013 07:48

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Travel search engine Kayak lands in Australia

The US-based company already has some commercial partners in Australia, including a long-standing relationship with Qantas.

Online travel site Kayak has paddled to Australian shores as part of a major global expansion under the new ownership of Priceline Group.

The US-based company already has some commercial partners in Australia, including a long-standing relationship with Qantas.

Kayak’s Robert Birge says Australia has the potential to be a big market for the company.

Kayak chief marketing officer Robert Birge says the business is actively seeking further deals, including potentially with local online travel agents such as Wotif and Stayz.

The localised website for Australia went live a week ago and the smartphone apps, for both Android and iOS, will be available within weeks.

Birge says the company has also launched in The Netherlands and is expanding to Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Belgium, Hong Kong and Singapore within the next fortnight.

“It took us four years to reach the first eight countries and after eight years we were in 19, but the advantage of being part of a bigger global company is that we can achieve a bigger global footprint faster,” Birge says.

“Australia has a very active online travel market, it’s an OECD economy, and it has a population that travels disproportionately so it’s potentially a big market for us.”

The business, founded by co-founders of Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz in 2004, is a travel search engine that’s free to consumers.

Instead it makes money from airlines, hotels, car hire firms and online travel agents. In its last filing as a Nasdaq-listed company before the Priceline acquisition in May, Kayak generated $US2.1 million ($2.2 million) in profit off $US82.3 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2013.

Birge says Australians were already using the US version of Kayak and the traffic was significant.

Australians will now see a local version of the site with Australian dollars as the default and Australian date formatting.

Further international expansion plans are in the works for 2014, with targets in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific.

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