Kayak Expands Direct Booking Into Flights; Adds Jetsetter And Travel + Leisure Hotel Reviews

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After debuting direct booking for hotel reservations, travel search engine Kayak is expanding this option to airline flights. This feature is initially only available for Air Canada but Kayak will be adding more airlines in the future.

Previously if you wanted to book a flight using Kayak’s search engine, you would click-through to the airline or partner site to book the reservation. Kayak would receive an affiliate fee from the transaction but the actual booking would be made outside of the search engine.

Now, you can purchase the flight within the Kayak platform, exclusively for Air Canada routes. As we reported last March, Kayak added this capabilities for hotels, thanks to Travelocity.

The option will be available on Kayak’s mobile applications in the coming weeks, and will also integrate with Kayak’s itinerary management service, My Trips. Robert Birge, Kayak’s CMO, tells us developing additional direct booking partnerships will depend on each airline. In some cases, airlines offer an API, which makes it easy for Kayak to add the direct booking option. In other cases, he explains, Kayak will have to work directly with the airline to provide a direct booking experience. “We’re trying to focus on the customer experience and provide better choices and a simpler booking experience,” he says.

Kayak is also adding reviews for over 1,400 hotels from Travel + Leisure and Jetsetter. A few weeks ago, Kayak added 60 million TripAdvisor reviews into search results.

With the IPO on hold, Kayak has been heads down on product development and improving customer experience over the past few months, as the company battles with Google in the travel search space.

In December, Kayak redesigned its iPad app and consolidated the app with its iPhone cousin. The company’s website most recently got a big UI upgrade, creating a more universal and comprehensive consumer experience across all Kayak platforms: web, mobile web and apps.