The Travel Search Landscape

Are you confused trying to understand who’s who in the travel search industry and which search sites and mobile apps are best to use?  You’re not alone!  The travel industry is massive and there are many companies who want a portion of your travel spend.

Did you Know?

To de-mystify travel search choices it’s important to understand the Travel Search Landscape.

Have you heard the terms aggregator, consolidator and Online Travel Agent (OTA)  and did you know that each has a slightly different way of operating?  We have written several articles on this topic and the bottom line is that travel search providers earn their revenue from referral fees and advertising.  The results you see when searching on any one site are often biased with advertised “hot deals” displayed at the top. But, is the advertised “Top Pick” or “One Room Left at this Price” your best choice? 

 Who can you Trust?

How can you trust that you are finding the best deal by using a single aggregator knowing that the search results may be skewed? The short answer is that YOU CAN’T and it’s always best to check multiple sites.

You likely have a favorite search provider or two that you use because you are familiar with them, and perhaps you’ve signed up for an account to receive “special” pricing and accumulate points. That’s great, but what about the suppliers themselves? Because prices are continually changing, you can never be sure whether an aggregator or direct supplier has the best deal one day versus the next. Although many aggregators and suppliers will show the same pricing for an individual flight or hotel, this is not always the case! Searching more sites can often expose new prices or new options.

The Travel Search Landscape Offers Insight

Travel company acquisitions over the past 10 years reveal surprising relationships.  We examined the travel search landscape and gained insight into price offers. We found that there are two main mega-owners in the travel search industry:  Expedia Group and Booking Holdings (formerly Priceline Group).

Comparing Two Sites with One Mega Owner

Although some acquired companies continue to operate independently, others appear to show similar search results, so we decided to compare Expedia and Travelocity, two search companies owned by Expedia Group. 

We searched for a hotel in NYC.  One had 1559 results and the other 1524.  The overlapping results had identical pricing but what about the remaining 35?  Could these be the hidden gems?

These findings confirm that it is definitely worthwhile to search extensively.  There may be one or two choices that provide significant savings but it’s never the same provider that will show the best option so its is best to broaden your search.  Unfortunately, that broader search can be time consuming.

Enter Opptee Travel Search! 

Opptee is different than all the other search providers because YOU choose which sites (aggregators AND suppliers) to search.
To ensure you find the travel option best for you, use Opptee to:

  • search several aggregators – at least one from each mega owner.  Then search an independent or two (refer to Infographic above)
  • search the airlines and hotels directly
  • Don’t search only the aggregators you are familiar with.  The best deals may be with search providers you haven’t tried before. 

If you want to do the most comprehensive search to find best options, give Opptee a try!  


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