ITB 2015: Kayak boss praises ‘fun’ Google but says ‘I don’t like personalisation’

ITB 2015: Kayak boss praises ‘fun’ Google but says ‘I don’t like personalisation’

The head of travel search engine Kayak has declared Facebook and Amazon “don’t know what they are doing” in travel and Google as “fun” but “inaccurate.”

Steve Hafner, chief executive of Kayak, said: “What makes Google [travel] fun to use at the moment is it’s so fast – it’s not comprehensive and it’s not accurate.”

Speaking at German travel trade show ITB in Berlin, Hafner said: “Consumers are used to Google being fast and to it not being accurate. Kayak is accurate.”

He added: “At what rate do you refresh content? At Google they decided ‘Hey we’re going to show everything in the catalogue even if it is sold out’. At Kayak we don’t do that.”

Referring to rival travel search sites, Hafner said: “We aren’t as aggressive on marketing because we don’t think it’s value for money. We don’t want to waste money. But some of our rivals don’t have a full product offering.”

Asked about the entry of existing online giants Amazon and Facebook to the sector, he said: “I don’t think either of those guys know what they are doing in the travel industry.”

Referring to Expedia’s recent acquisition of online travel agency (OTA) rivals Travelocity and Orbitz, Hafner said: “I don’t think consolidation is a bad thing. How many people enjoy the travel experience of going to multiple sites and using multiple apps?

“Are suppliers concerned about Expedia consolidating? Some are. But consolidation is natural.”Hafner also declared: “I hate the word ‘personalisation’. It’s too amorphous. Any service that requires registration to use, you are going to lose people.

“I want to see us do stuff we can work on and get tested.”

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