Kayak to unveil full travel services to the UK

Travel search engine Kayak has launched hotel search functions to its UK website and will add holidays and car hire during the third quarter of 2007.

The latest flurry of development work on the site will put Kayak on an even playing field against its fierce US rival Sidestep, which launched in the UK in September 2006, as well as established UK operations such as TravelSupermarket and Kelkoo.

Most of the main players in the UK include flights, hotels, holidays and car hire on their systems, fuelling speculation earlier this year that Kayak may find it difficult to break the UK market if it had stuck to its original plan to launch extra tools at the end of 2007.

Keith Melnick, executive vice president of corporate development, told Travolution the focus for the launch of Kayak.co.uk in December 2006 was to ensure with its flights module it had created was the “best product in the market”.

Kayak has since launched flight-only websites for the France and Germany markets. Both sites will feature hotels, holidays and car hire search this year.

Hotel chains signed up for the UK launch include Marriott, Starwood, Wyndham, InterContinental and Fairmont, as well as aggregators such as Venere and Octopus.

Annie Wilson has joined Kayak from Guardian Media Group to become European director of business development, based in London.

Steve Hafner, chief executive and co-founder, said: “At Kayak, we understand the importance of choosing the right hotel, and believe consumers are entitled to see all the estimated 300,000 hotels worldwide, not just the 15% that are marketed through traditional online agency sites.”

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