Data has always been an essential ingredient of the Kayak travel comparator. And big data, a technological brick used by the site to offer new services. As early as 2014, Kayak had, for example, integrated a tool to anticipate changes in flight prices over several days. A sort of price weather forecast that has continued to improve. “We had a reliability rate of 75% at the start, it is 92% today.“, welcomes John-Lee Saez, director France, Spain and Austria of the site.
A dashboard of tourism trends
On July 24, 2017, he unveiled a new feature made possible by the analysis of large volumes of data: the “Travel Trends Dashboard” dashboard. A sort of “Google Trends” for travel that reveals the main trends in the sector by answering simple questions that Internet users ask themselves: what are the most popular destinations, or on the contrary those that travelers are abandoning? At what time of the year are the cheapest flights for a given destination? Or this burning question at this time of year: “Where to go to avoid meeting other French tourists?”.
Cumulative data over four years on plane flights, hotels and car rentals are thus open to the public free of charge. “They will be updated every month.“, announces John Lee Saez.
Why make this valuable data available for free? Kayak wants to make its Travel Trends Dashboard “a tool for differentiation, acquisition and customer loyalty”, as is already his “engine of inspiration”, specifies the leader. “It is important to integrate functions that cannot be found anywhere else“, he insists, especially since the clientele of travel comparators is particularly volatile.
VR, chatbots, amazon alexa…
The Kayak teams (600 employees, 70% of whom are technical) are working on other technological innovations. Chatbots for Facebook Messenger and Slack (for professionals) have been launched in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. They could soon arrive in France, the site’s first market in Europe. Kayak is also developing “skills” for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, also available in these three countries (but not yet in French).
Finally, augmented reality and virtual reality are explored to create a highly visual “inspiration engine” based on immersion. John-Lee Saez does not hide his enthusiasm for this project “extraordinary“who could”disrupt the market“. But everything is not technically ready and a commercial launch is not for now. “We are making a prototype, but tUntil we are happy with the result, we will not release it”, he says. “The combination of VR, AI and voice assistants really has the potential to disrupt all industries.”
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