Kayak (company)

Last updated

Kayak Logo.svg
Kayak.com screenshot.jpg
Type of site
Available in18 languages
FoundedJanuary 14, 2004;17 years ago (2004-01-14)
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Area servedGlobal
Founder(s) Steve Hafner
Paul M. English
Key peopleSteve Hafner (CEO)
Giorgos Zacharia (President)
Ko Baryiames (CTO)
Amy Wei (CCO)
Peer Bueller (CFO)
Tore Pein Jensen (CMO)
Industry Travel
Products Travel agency
Metasearch engine
Revenue US$292.7 million (2012) [1]
Parent Booking Holdings
Subsidiaries SWOODOO
Hotels Combined
URL www.kayak.com
LaunchedFebruary 7, 2005 (2005-02-07) (Public) [2]
Native client(s) on iOS, Android, watchOS, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger

Kayak.com, sometimes styled as KAYAK, is a travel agency and metasearch engine owned and operated by Booking Holdings. [3] The company also runs travel search engines checkfelix, [4] Mundi, Hotels Combined, and swoodoo.


Kayak's website and mobile apps are currently available in over 18 languages and more than 30 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, [5] Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Belgium, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Singapore.


Kayak was founded in January 2004 [6] by Steve Hafner and Paul M. English. Before Kayak, Steve Hafner, Kayak's current CEO, helped found Orbitz in November 1999 and led its business development, advertising sales, marketing, and product marketing activities. [7]

The company was originally named Travel Search Company, Inc. and the name was changed to Kayak Software Corporation in August 2004. [8]

The website launched in February 2005. [2]

In December 2007, Kayak raised $196 million in a new round of financing from a group of investors including General Catalyst, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Oak Investment Partners. Using that funding, Kayak acquired SideStep, another online travel agency. [9] [10]

On March 5, 2010, Kayak sold certain assets related to TravelPost. [11]

In May 2010, Kayak acquired German travel search platform Swoodoo. [12] [13]

In January 2011, Kayak shut down SideStep and redirected SideStep traffic to Kayak.com. [14]

In March 2011, Kayak began providing results in the U.S. version of Bing from multiple cities, airports and airlines in Bing's travel search section. [15]

In April 2011, Kayak acquired all of the outstanding shares of JaBo Vertrieb-und Entwicklung GmbH, or JaBo Software, operator Checkfelix, a travel search engine in Austria. [16] [17]

On July 20, 2012, Kayak became a public company via an initial public offering. On its first day of trading, Kayak opened up at $26 per share and closed at $33.18 per share. [18]

On May 21, 2013, Booking Holdings, then known as Priceline.com, acquired the company for $2.1 billion. [19]

On September 25, 2013, it was announced that Connecticut would assist Kayak with a $2.5 million loan to help facilitate their move to the Harbor Point district of Stamford. [20]

In August 2017, the company acquired Mundi. [21]

In July 2018, Kayak assumed leadership of Hotels Combined, which was acquired by parent Booking Holdings. [22]

In September 2018, the company launched a feature to help travelers determine if their luggage fits in the overhead bin of planes. [23]


In 2013, Travel + Leisure named Kayak's app in its list of the Best Apps for Business Travelers [24] as well as its list for the Best Apps and Websites for Travelers.

Time named Kayak to its list of the 50 Best Websites of 2009. [25]

Mashable included Kayak in first place for the website's list, "10 Budget Airfare Tools Every Traveler Should Know in 2012". [26]

Kayak won the following Webby Awards:

The World Travel Awards presented Kayak with the World's Leading Flight Comparison Website award in 2013 and the World's Leading Travel Search Website award in 2011. [34]

All-American Muslim advertising

In December 2011 Kayak announced that it would not renew a contract to advertise on the TLC reality television show All-American Muslim . The decision followed a campaign by the Florida Family Association, a one-man fundamentalist organization focused on "defending American values". [35] [36] In a statement posted to the Kayak website, Kayak chief marketing officer Robert Birge wrote that TLC "was not upfront with us about the nature of the show". [37]

Related Research Articles

Cheapflights is a travel fare metasearch engine. The website is part of the Kayak.com subsidiary of Booking Holdings.


Epicurious is an American digital brand that focuses on food and cooking-related topics. Created by Condé Nast in 1995, it is headquartered at the One World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City where it is part of the publisher's Food Innovation Group that also includes Bon Appétit, with significant overlap in staff between the two companies.

Skyscanner is a metasearch engine and travel agency based in Edinburgh, Scotland and owned by Trip.com Group, the largest online travel agency in China. The site is available in over 30 languages and is used by 100 million people per month. The company lets people research and book travel options for their trips, including flights, hotels and car hire.

Agoda.com is an online travel agency and metasearch engine for hotels, vacation rentals, flights, and airport transfer. It is owned by Agoda Company Pte. Ltd., headquartered in Singapore, and a subsidiary of Booking Holdings.

Momondo is a travel fare aggregator and travel fare metasearch engine. Momondo also operates a travel information blog, Inspiration. The website is a white-label of the Kayak.com subsidiary of Booking Holdings.

StudentUniverse is an online travel agency specializing in youth travel. It offers flights, lodging, travel insurance, and escorted tours. Customers are generally required to be enrolled students or faculty members at accredited colleges or universities, or between 16 and 25 years old. It has proprietary verification technology that allows it to verify student status. It also operates a mobile app called Flights by StudentUniverse. It makes money from commissions, advertising, fees.

HomeAway was a vacation rental marketplace. It operated through 50 websites in 23 languages through which it offered rentals of cabins, condos, castles, villas, barns, and farmhouses.

Rome2rio is an online multimodal transport search engine helping travellers get to and from any location in the world.

HotelsCombined, a unit of Booking Holdings, is a hotel metasearch engine founded in 2005, with headquarters in Sydney, Australia.


Tripping.com, powered by HomeToGo, is an online search engine and review aggregator for vacation rentals. It aggregates over 10 million listings in more than 150,000 cities worldwide. It is based in San Francisco, California. Tripping.com partners with and displays listings from booking websites including Booking.com, HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey, Housetrip, Roomorama, Interhome, Novasol, Wimdu, ZenRentals, Bedycasa, WayToStay, Gloveler, HolidayVelvet, 9flats, AlwaysOnVacation, RedAwning, and Housetrip. Users can search by price, ratings, location and features and amenities.

Otalo.com is a fare aggregator and metasearch engine for vacation rentals. It enables its users to search across different vacation rental advertising sites using a single search.

Wanderu (company)

Wanderu is a ground and air travel metasearch engine that operates throughout North America and Europe. It provides a one-stop search and booking platform for buses, trains and flights through its website and mobile app. Wanderu is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

HotelTonight Airbnb subsidiary

HotelTonight is a travel agency and metasearch engine owned by Airbnb and accessible via website and mobile app used to book last-minute lodging in the Americas, Europe and Australia.

Bustripping is a meta-search engine for intercity buses in the U.S. It allows travelers to compare bus companies when looking for direct line run and private charter services.

Roomkey, formerly Room Key, was a hotel metasearch engine. Roomkey was a joint venture founded by Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, and Wyndham Worldwide or their respective affiliates. There are over 45,000 hotels listed on Room Key, in 150 countries and including 60 brands.

Busbud Travel website

Busbud is a travel website specializing in intercity bus tickets.

Jetcost.com is a travel metasearch engine for finding airfares. It acts as an intermediary, and does not directly sell flights or travel products. Since 2013, Jetcost has been a brand of Lastminute.com Group. The site is most popular in Western Europe and the top search words on the site are for Air France, Ryanair, and Transavia.

Booking Holdings Inc. is an American company organized in Delaware and based in Norwalk, Connecticut, that owns and operates several travel fare aggregators and travel fare metasearch engines including namesake and flagship Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Kayak.com, Cheapflights, Rentalcars.com, Momondo, and OpenTable. It operates websites in about 40 languages and 200 countries.

Traveloka is an Indonesian unicorn company that provides airline ticketing and hotel booking services online expanding rapidly into Southeast Asia and Australia. It recently expanded to provide lifestyle products and services, such as attraction tickets, activities, car rental, and restaurant vouchers.

Gogobot Online travel service

Gogobot was an online travel business headquartered in Palo Alto, California. The company was rebranded Trip.com in November, 2016 and acquired by the Ctrip Group in 2017. Founded in 2010, by Travis Katz and Ori Zaltzman, by 2014 the company was the fifth most visited travel-planning site in the United States.


  1. King, Danny (April 3, 2013). "Kayak turns 2012 profit". Travel Weekly .
  2. 1 2 "Kayak.com Launches Consumer Online Travel Site; Company Announces New Content, Features, and Distribution Partner; Plus, Kayak.com to Award Winter Getaways for Registered Users" (Press release). Business Wire. February 7, 2005.
  3. "Kayak.com: Private Company Overview". Bloomberg L.P.
  4. "Checkfelix". TechCrunch.
  5. Perez, Sarah (July 20, 2012). "Kayak Is Headed To Russia". TechCrunch .
  6. "Kayak CrunchBase Profile". CrunchBase . TechCrunch. October 23, 2011.
  7. Timmins, Beth; Cox, Josie (April 26, 2017). "A View from the Top: Steve Hafner, founder of travel comparison site Kayak". The Independent .
  8. "KAYAK SOFTWARE CORPORATION 2012 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  9. Arrington, Michael (December 20, 2007). "Breaking: Kayak Raises $196 Million, Buys Rival SideStep". TechCrunch .
  10. "KAYAK.COM MERGES WITH SIDESTEP.COM; SECURES $196M IN FINANCING ROUND" (Press release). December 21, 2007.
  11. Schaal, Dennis (February 11, 2011). "Kayak has stake in TravelPost rollout". Phocuswire .
  12. Zinnagl, Lukas (May 6, 2010). "Kayak swoops on German travel search engine Swoodoo [Updated]". TechCrunch .
  13. "KAYAK acquires swoodoo, Germany's leading travel search site". May 6, 2010.
  14. Rao, Leena (May 27, 2011). "in-front-of-its-ipo-kayak-reports-growth-in-revenue-but-income-down". TechCrunch .
  15. Duryee, Tricia (March 4, 2011). "Bing Picks Kayak for Travel Search Partnership". All Things D .
  16. Taylor, Colleen (May 27, 2011). "Poised for IPO, Kayak Reports Sales Boost and Global Growth". Gigaom .
  17. May, Kevin (April 5, 2011). "Kayak buys Austrian travel search engine Checkfelix". Phocuswire .
  18. Empson, Rip (July 20, 2012). "That'll Fly: Kayak Closes IPO Day With Shares Up Nearly 30% And Market Cap Over $1.2B". Techcrunch .
  19. "PCLN Form 10-Q". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  20. "Gov. Malloy: Kayak to Expand and Create 50 Jobs in Stamford" (Press release). Connecticut. September 25, 2013.
  21. O'Neill, Sean (August 4, 2017). "Kayak Acquires Assets of Struggling Brazilian Metasearch Company Mundi". Skift .
  22. Schaal, Dennis (July 9, 2018). "Booking Holdings Buys HotelsCombined as Kayak Expands Into Asia Pacific". Skift .
  23. Perez, Sarah (September 18, 2018). "kayaks-new-ar-feature-will-tell-you-if-your-carry-on-bag-fits-the-overhead-bin". TechCrunch .
  24. BROWN HUNT, KATRINA; SAMILJAN, TOM (October 14, 2013). "Best Apps for Business Travelers".
  25. Fisher, Adam (August 24, 2009). "50 Best Websites 2009" . Time .
  26. "10 Budget Airfare Tools Every Traveler Should Know". Mashable . July 26, 2012.
  27. "2008 People's Voice: KAYAK.COM". Webby Award.
  28. "2009 Webby Award Winner: KAYAK.COM". Webby Award.
  29. "KAYAK MOBILE FOR IPHONE". Webby Award.
  30. "We Won Three Webby Awards – Thanks to You". Kayak. May 1, 2012.
  31. "2013 Nominee: KAYAK - MOBILE SITES & APPS". Webby Award.
  32. "2014 People's Voice / Webby Award Winner: KAYAK Technology Team". Webby Award.
  33. "2015 People's Voice: KAYAK - MOBILE SITES & APPS". Webby Award.
  34. "Kayak". World Travel Awards.
  35. Freedman, Samuel G. (December 16, 2011). "Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims" . The New York Times .
  36. Diaz, Johnny (December 14, 2011). "Kayak won't renew ads on Muslim TV show" . The Boston Globe .
  37. ELLIOTT, STUART (December 14, 2011). "Kayak Defends Cutting Ties to 'All-American Muslim'" . The New York Times .