Travel search engine Kayak is making an interesting move today. The site is now allowing users to make hotel bookings directly through the company’s website. Kayak is partnering with Travelocity to power the hotel booking feature.
So previously, if you wanted to book a hotel using Kayak’s search engine, you would click through to the hotel or partner site to book the reservation. Kayak would receive a affiliate fee from the transaction but the actual booking would be made outside of the search engine.
Now, you can make the reservation within the Kayak platform, similar to the experience of making a hotel booking through Expedia (although you’ll still be able to book via the hotel or other sites as well). Travelocity will process the transactions and provide customer service on a white label basis. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The feature was previously released in a limited beta and will be available on its website and iPhone application in the coming weeks.
Of course, Kayak will now compete with Expedia, Orbitz and others for travel booking. Also, it doesn’t appear that Kayak will be extending the same functionality for airline bookings for now.
It’s a strategic move on Kayak’s part, and represents the company’s move beyond just being a search engine to becoming a full-fledged bookings site. As the company prepares for a public offering, Kayak is looking to create more lasting revenue and bookings within the site could bring the company more direct sales. Kayak also recently struck a deal with Microsoft Bing, to integrate its travel search results into the search engine.