Greg Saks

TripAdvisor’s Meta Search Opportunity

On February 27th, TripAdvisor took the wraps off of its new air Meta Search engine. It includes industry-first features such as a built-in fees estimator that other sites do not offer. What makes TripAdvisor the most formidable new competitor within Meta Search, however, is the millions of existing site users who theoretically can be nudged into adopting the product. The challenge will be convincing consumers to put down the hotel

Boxing vs MMA: Which Sport Are Fight Fans Turning To?

This past Saturday night, CBS broadcast its 3rd live mixed martial arts primetime event. The show, which featured Internet sensation "Kimbo Slice" losing via quick knockout in the main event, was promoted heavily by CBS for the past few weeks. How many consumers are interested in MMA as a sport, and how far has it come in comparison to boxing in popularity? The most popular MMA websites now far outrank

Group Travel Planning Websites: A Leader Emerging?

A number of websites designed to help consumers plan, book, and manage group trips have cropped up in the past couple of years. These include group booking tools such as Groople.com and GroupTravelPlanet.com, planning tools such as HomeAndAbroad.com and TripCart.com, and hybrid sites that combine a variety of features. It has been a rocky battle for these upstarts, many of which have not been able to either market themselves effectively

Analysis of Kayak.com and SideStep.com Merger

Overview: On December 21st it was announced that the two largest Meta Search Engines in the travel industry, Kayak.com and SideStep.com, will be merging. The larger of the two, Kayak, will be simultaneously raising $196 million in a new round of financing and using a portion of those funds to purchase SideStep. For those who monitor online travel distribution trends this is a major development. Given the scale that Meta

Meta Search Pushes Into Cruises

The News: In an apparent coincidence, the two biggest Meta Search sites entered the cruise category at nearly the same time, when in January both Kayak and Sidestep launched cruise search products. Sidestep took the approach of partnering with NLG’s CruisesOnly brand to power its site, while Kayak launched a custom-developed search product. Among the questions are whether Meta Search can help increase the slow growth of online cruise bookings,

UFC: 6th Most Popular Sport in U.S.?

If website visitation is any indication, there is a new sport around that is capturing the hearts of U.S. consumers. The “UFC“, or Ultimate Fighting Championship, attracts a greater number of visitors to its website than the organizations that run professional golf, soccer, bowling, and tennis. And if hockey doesn’t fire up its zambonis soon, it appears that the NHL will be the next sport to be KO’d. Much like

Consumers Creating Their Own Content in Travel

Travel is the largest category of eCommerce there is, and consumers are taking it into their own hands… and voices. Consumer-Generated-Content already influences $10 Billion a year in online travel purchases. Among the early innovators in taking advantage of this trend are Sheraton Hotels, Southwest Airlines, and TripAdvisor. Sheraton transformed its website into a social platform, pushing aside standard hotel booking functionality in favor of creating a “Global Neighborhood.” Southwest

Are Travelers Finding Needles in 'Haystack'?

Near the end of December 2006, Lonely Planet launched ‘Haystack’, an online booking engine featuring exclusive author-approved accomodations. . Unlike many travel accommodation engines, 50% of the featured properties on ‘Haystack’ were not previously bookable online. Each property is visited and reviewed by a Lonely Planet author. These reviews include additions from independent travellers and are recommended to Lonely Planet travel prospects. In January, Haystack’s first full month of operation,

Travelistic.com: A specialized video-sharing site

At the end of October, Travelistic.com launched as a new travel community site featuring user generated videos, media sharing, travel blogging, and social networking. With Google‘s success in the search market, a new class of specialized, vertical-focused search engines emerged in an attempt to carve out their own slice of the search pie. Similarly, in the wake of video-sharing site YouTube.com getting acquired for $1.6 billion, it is no surprise

Travel: The emergence of Meta Search

Online travel is big: Seventy million consumers researched travel on the Internet in July 2006 alone. While this activity remains dominated by Online Travel Agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz (the “OTA’s” attracted 48.5 million consumers in July), there is a new type of travel site emerging that is drawing attention. Travel “Meta Search” sites, which are sites that scan hundreds of other travel sites and pull all of