Generally it is believed that most airfare searches start at an online travel agency or airline website. However, this conventional wisdom could not be right. Nowadays, a new so-called “meta” searches sites such as Kayak.com, Mobissimo.com and Hipmunk.com are getting popularity. These sites select fares from different airlines and online agencies and then display the options.
More Than 38% Travelers Use Meta-Search Site
Most of the travelers nowadays prefer meta-search sites. A large number of travelers in a new Consumer Travel Alliance poll (38 %) say they click on a meta-search site first. Some travelers begin with the airlines’ own websites, such as Delta.com and AA.com. About 1 in 5 travelers go directly to an online agency, while only 6 percent call a travel agent and 2 percent visit a search engine like Google or Bing.
Coalition of Online Agencies
A survey of a large number of people was conducted at time when a coalition of online agencies was fighting a proposal by Google. Its purpose was to get ITA Software. This software develops airfare search applications for many major travel sites. It has its own site, ITAsoftware.com, that is, something popular or fashionable for meta-searches.
The coalition, which considers itself Fair Search, claims that Google’s acquisition will capture the market that would raise airfares, and puts pressure on the Justice Department to stop the sale.
According To Director of the Consumer Travel Alliance
Director of the Consumer Travel Alliance, Charlie Leocha, reviews that it also comes as online travel agencies are fighting airlines over how tickets are distributed online. No major airlines currently disclose their additional fees, such as extra charges for meals, luggage and reservations. They try to provide travel services in a meaningful and systematic way.
According to him, Google’s pending purchase of ITA would further mislead what consumers see through a Google-dominated search, since most meta-search engines use ITA software. Also, the airlines move towards unknown airfares and fees, combined with possible Google manipulation of search results to keep advertisers happy rather than provide unbiased prices, a sign of a bad outcome for consumers.
Jack Vanesko’s Point Of View
Jack Vanesko is a retiree who lives in Ajijic, Mexico says that he usually starts with Kayak.com. Then he goes to the specific airline and makes the reservation directly with the airline. He says that he still tries to find an easier way.
According To Tom Logue (A Market Researcher)
Tom Logue is a market researcher in Memphis. He plays an agency off an airline when he goes shops for a ticket. First he goes to Delta, his airline of choice. If the fare seems excessive, he will go to Expedia to compare fares, hoping that he can justify a purchase through Delta. Either way, he always buys through the airlines rather than other sites.
Marti Mayne Does It the Other Way
Marti Mayne is a regular flier from Yarmouth, Maine, does it the other way around, beginning with Expedia. She guesses that is because she is used to their format and it allows her to check different airlines and prices and schedules quickly and easily.
Read the full story