The lengthy process of physically going to a travel agency to buy a plane ticket is becoming increasingly obsolete due to the many advantages that travelers searching online have. With one click, customers can purchase the tour package they want, while saving time and money.
This has been possible since the introduction of travel metasearch engines, a tool capable of finding and comparing all offers available for airlines, both traditional and low-cost, and travel agencies in the same place.
Metasearch engines thus have been on the rise. The convenience of having all options available for a flight and the cost in one place is one of the greatest benefits for buyers.
Growing in Importance and Value
Travel metasearch engines were born from the need to unify the diverse offer of products online, making it easier for consumers to find and choose tourism products and services.
In this sense, it boils down to making buying easier. With metasearch engines travelers may forget about having to browse prices page by page since a single search shows all available options so they can pick the one that suits best.
Travel metasearch engines do not sell flight tickets or manage reservations themselves, nor do they influence the final cost of the flight. Their sole purpose is to serve as a price comparison tool to check prices, save time, and plan trips.
As for the impact these engines have on the industry, OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) have made large investments after realizing the importance of travel metasearch engines.
In recent years, KAYAK, the most important engine in the United States, was acquired by Priceline, the parent company of Booking, for 1,413 million euros. For its part, Expedia, another online giant, acquired 61% of the German travel metasearch engine Trivago for 477 million euros.
The fact that large OTAs, such as Expedia and Priceline, have acquired these metasearch engines confirms the relevance of this type of tourism intermediaries in the industry.
Most Popular Travel Metasearch Engines
Here are the most popular travel metasearch engines among travelers, which have earned recognition by providing the best user-friendly tools and rates.
Google Flight is one of the most complete and simple to use engines. It is ideal for browsing flight options, especially if the one doing the search is a person with flexible dates and destinations.
It is one of the most recognized metasearch engines worldwide, known for its security when buying tickets online. It contains a filter called ‘Everywhere’ that allows the user to find the best prices and destinations from a specific departure location.
What makes Momondo stand out from the rest is that its searches contain much more data about different travel agencies and airlines, including those that are not as popular yet offer low prices. Momondo does not sell tickets directly, but does so through third parties, meaning that it redirects the user to the airline to make the purchase.
It is one of the most complete engines since it not only acts as a search engine for flights, but also for hotels, cruises, and car rentals, being a good option to book everything in one place. The simple design makes Kayak an easy-to-use tool. In addition, it has a feature for flexible dates and a search option by destination and price.