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2017 Outlook on Metasearch in Travel

by Jared Wein, Luke Bujarski + Skift Team
Travel Tech

Skift Research Take

The mechanics of metasearch technology and how travel brands use it to effectively bring attractive products to market are extremely complex. While many have tried, very few are now doing it in a meaningful way that produces attractive scale and profits. Those that succeed long term will ultimately need the right mix of technology, connectivity, user experience, market strategy, and budget. This definitive report outlines the competitive landscape along all five of these essential benchmarks.

Introduction

Slim margins and complex technology have turned travel metasearch into a contact sport. Identifying the winners and losers in this space takes a keen understanding of the economics and mechanics that power these businesses. Luckily, we’ve produced the definitive resource for understanding and forecasting the trend lines.

This is by far the most comprehensive analysis of the current state of the global metasearch market in existence today. Weighing in at over 50,000 words, this report is as much a reference manual into the intricate mechanics of the metasearch business model, as it is a competitive and financial analysis benchmarking the performance and competitiveness of the biggest brands in metasearch.

We found our interviews with key decision makers to be the most valuable part of the primary research process. Participants were candid with us about their companies, competition, and broad views on the future of the industry. We provide full transcripts of our interviews throughout the report.

Executives Interviewed (transcripts included):

Kayak CEO and Co-founder Steve Hafner
Momondo CEO Hugo Burge
Momondo Managing Director Pia Vemmelund
TripAdvisor VP of Global Sales Brian Schmidt
Skyscanner GM, Americas Shane Corstorphine
Tripping COO and Co-founder Jeffrey Manheimer
Viajala CEO and Co-founder Thomas Allier
Roomlr CEO and Founder Bas Lemmens
Viceroy Hotel Group CEO Bill Walshe
Viceroy Hotel Group VP of Digital and Commercial Partnerships Mary Bennett
Standard Hotels Chief Revenue Officer Jimmy Suh
Former Expedia CEO and Investor Erik Blachford
SiteMinder Co-founder and CEO Mike Ford

Our team spent countless hours sifting over the latest M&A activity, company financials, web and consumer data, and transcripts of interviews with strategists and executives from meta brands, suppliers, and third-party technology platforms.

Biggest lesson: The mechanics of the metasearch business model and how travel brands use it to effectively bring attractive products to market are extremely complex. While many have tried, very few are now doing it in a meaningful way that produces attractive scale and profits. Those that succeed long term will ultimately need the right mix of technology, inventory, user experience, market strategy and budget. This definitive report outlines the competitive landscape along all five of these essential benchmarks.

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From this report, you will know the following:

  • Unique economics and strategies for the big four brands in meta: Trivago, Kayak, Skyscanner, Google
  • Why certain metasearch brands are succeeding while others struggle to cover costs
  • Listen to what the most senior thought leaders and executives are saying about the market
  • What consolidation and competition means for independent and integrated (OTA owned) meta players
  • How metas are making money and which transaction model (CPC, CPA, instant book) are yielding the best results
  • What Trivago’s recent IPO means for Expedia and for its competitors
  • Foresight into the future of metasearch as a technology
  • How metasearch tech plays into a growing alternative accommodations market
  • Company valuations and forecasts of future M&A activity in the industry
  • The impact of regulation and supplier backlash against metasearch platforms

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