Kayak buys German rival Swoodoo

Kayak has kick-started its European expansion with the acquisition of German hotel and flight site Swoodoo for an undisclosed amount.

The US price comparison site has had a local site in Germany for just over two years but chief marketing officer Robert Birge admitted Kayak had not done as well in Germany as its rival.

“We get a good brand and an effective management team that will do a better job at building the Kayak brand.”

Birge also said the company had not expanded in Europe as quickly as it had talked about.

“This is a pretty big move and hopefully we will begin to take action. We definitely have a number of things we are working on. We’re a fairly pragmatic operation but the big four countries in Europe are where we would like to do a whole lot better and it’s definitely on our shortlist of growth priorities.”

Both brands will continue to operate in the country while sharing the best technology of the two services in the coming months.

The Swoodoo management team takes responsibility for both sites with chief executive Dr Christian Saller becoming managing director of Kayak Germany.

“The Swoodoo brand is well-regarded and well known and we operate two sites in the US. The management team has local expertise, is focused on the market and can execute growth for Kayak.”

Birge said there were no specific plans to expand via acquisition and buying local expertise in Europe, but that growth could come through aggressive marketing, product development or acquisition.

He declined to talk about a war chest for acquisition but said the company had demonstrated its financial ability where opportunity presented itself.

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