US meta search site Kayak will aim to be in the top 20 travel sites in the UK within one year of its official launch despite the lack of an aggressive marketing campaign in a crowded market.
Kayak.co.uk site launches this week with a flight search tool and will add hotel and car rental functionality in 2007.
The company, which was created by the co-founders of US online travel agency giants Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity, said unlike its launch in North America in 2005, there will only be a “modest” e-marketing spend limited to buying keywords.
The company has made a great play of its so-called Travel 2.0 functionality, which will be introduced on the 14 December and includes tools such as Best Fare History, Best Fare Trend Graphs and Kayak Buzz, a list of the lowest fares to the 25 most popular destinations found by other users.
Air fares will be provided by leading European carriers such as British Airways, Air France and BMI, alongside no-frills carriers including EasyJet, Ryanair and Air Berlin.
A feed from Ebookers has been added as well as data from the Wegolo meta search site.
User generated content will also be included in a forum-based format, allowing users to comment on specific regions, topics or keywords.
Co-founder and chief executive Steve Hafner criticised existing travel search engines for having “primitive functionality” and online travel agencies for producing “biased results and services fees”.
He added: ““Our launch in the UK brings a superior interface, innovative functionality and focus on user-generated content and personalization needed to improve the online travel planning experience in the UK.
“British travellers will finally have access to the site dubbed by industry experts as the ‘poster child’ of Travel 2.0 and listed among other Web 2.0 leaders YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.”
Kayak plans to launch dedicated sites for France and Germany in early-2007.