Global travel metasearch and fare aggregator platforms such as Skyscanner and Kayak have had a presence in Asia in recent years to grab a pie of the metasearch markets in the region. Locally developed travel metasearch platforms are also gaining ground in many Asian countries, one of which is Singapore-based company Wego.
What is Wego?
Wego is a travel metasearch platform that aggregates prices from over 700 travel-related websites for users to compare and book their ideal flight, hotel or travel-related activities. The Singapore-based company was founded in 2005 by Ross Veitch and Craig Hewett. Search results on Wego is an unbiased comparison of prices of travel-related products and services offered by travel-related merchants worldwide. Users are provided with an option to book directly with a hotel or airline, or via a third-party aggregator website.
Wego recently partnered with China’s leading smartphone company, Xiaomi, to have its mobile app pre-installed on more than 500,000 smartphone devices that are slated to be sold in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. In the 8th ITB Asia Web Awards 2015, Wego was voted Best Online Travel Agency Website in Asia Pacific.
The platform currently handles flight and hotel booking referrals to its travel partners worth USD1.5 billion monthly.
The company claims to be one of the leading travel search sites in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Wego currently has a presence in 52 countries worldwide and is available in 30 languages. It also has regional offices in Dubai, Bangalore and Jakarta.
Wego has attracted numerous investors including Tiger Global Management, Crescent Point Group, Victoria Capital and SquarePeg Capital. Its funding rounds since January 2008 have raised a total of USD60.5 million for the company.
What is Skyscanner?
Skyscanner is a global UK-based travel metasearch engine founded by Barry Smith, Bonamy Grimes and Gareth Williams in 2003. It enables users to compare prices for flights, hotels and car hiring services from more than 1200 travel partners worldwide, allowing them to make a more informed decision when choosing the best deals.
The company claims that its search results are presented in under 30 seconds with all prices listed inclusive of all additional charges. User who are still undecided on a holiday destination may choose the “Skyscanner Search Everywhere” feature that will aggregate the cheapest destinations available for one’s next holiday. Also, the “Skyscanner Cheapest Month” feature allows users to save costs by finding the cheapest time to book their flights.
The company is currently serving more than 50 million users daily on both its mobile and desktop versions, with its mobile application downloaded over 40 million times since its launch.
Skyscanner has revenue of USD160 million yearly.
Skyscanner is available in 30 languages. The company also has 10 offices across the world with more than 800 staff. Its Asia Pacific regional headquarters is located in Singapore since September 2011. The headquarters was opened in anticipation of increasing traffic growth from emerging markets in Asia, including China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Other offices in the Asia Pacific region are located in Beijing and Shenzhen. In 2012, Skyscanner announced a partnership with China’s largest search engine Baidu, allowing the company’s flight search results to appear directly on Baidu search pages. In 2014, Skyscanner acquired China’s travel metasearch engine company, Youbibi.
In January 2016, Skyscanner raised USD192 million in a new round of funding to expand its international operations. Notable investors in the round include Baillie Gifford, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Vitruvian Partners and Yahoo! JAPAN. Other investors in Skyscanner include Scottish Equity Partners and Sequoia Capital.
The company is currently valued at more than USD1 billion, making Skyscanner the latest member to join the growing list of European unicorns.
What is Kayak?
Founded by Paul M. English and Steve Hafner in 2004, Kayak is travel metasearch engine and fare aggregator platform based in Connecticut, United States. The platform allows users to compare prices on flights, hotels, car hire and travel-related activities available within a country. Kayak’s search results are aggregated from thousands of travel agencies, airlines, hotels and car rental providers available online. Kayak has advertising agreements with more than 4,000 travel-related providers worldwide, including major airlines, hotel chains and car rental operators.
Some of Kayak’s notable features include Kayak Trips (personalized travel itinerary assistant), Flight Tracker, Explore (a bird’s eye view of the cost for flights to all countries within a particular month) and Price Forecast (a forecast of whether flight prices searched will rise or fall within the next seven days).
Kayak’s mobile application has been downloaded more than 40 million times since its launch. The company is currently handling over a billion search requests yearly. Kayak was awarded the World’s Leading Flight Comparison Website award in 2013 by the World Travel Awards.
In Nov 2012, Kayak was acquired by online travel site Priceline for USD 1.8 billion. KAYAK is now an independently managed subsidiary of The Priceline Group.
Kayak is available in more that 30 countries worldwide. Asia Pacific countries that have a local version of the company’s website include Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
The platform is also available in over 18 languages.
The company’s Series D round of funding in December 2007 raised a total of USD196 million. Some of its notable investors include Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, Oak Investment Partners and Sequoia Capital.
Both Skyscanner and Kayak have achieved great successes in the European and United States markets. The two companies, however, will definitely face stiff competition as it enters an Asian market that is already crowded with local travel metasearch and fare aggregator platforms such as Wego, India’s MakeMyTrip, China’s Qunar and Indonesia’s Traveloka.