Travel Search Landscape

Confused trying to understand who’s who in the travel search industry and which search sites and mobile apps are better to use than others?  You’re not alone!  The travel industry is massive and there are a lot of players who want a portion of your travel spend. You may have heard the terms aggregator, consolidator and Online Travel Agent (OTA) each with slightly different ways of operating. Understanding how the industry works may take away some of the confusion and help you decide who to search with. 

We have written several  blogs on this topic and the bottom line is that travel search providers earn their revenue from referral fees and advertising.  The results that you see when you search on any one site are most often biased with advertised “hot deals” being displayed up top. 

But is the advertised “Top Pick” or “One Room Left at this Price” really the best choice?  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 because you’ve signed up for an account allowing you to view “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. If you search on several aggregators, you may notice that many have the same pricing for an individual flight/hotel and that some differ by only a dollar or two. 

The Travel Search Landscape – Where to Start

Travel company acquisitions over the past 10 years reveal some surprising relationships.  There are actually two main mega-owners in the travel search industry.

Although some acquired companies continue to generally operate independently, others appear to show similar search results, such as the two below.  Notice a similarity?  We decided to test Expedia and Travelocity to find 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?

It is definitely worth extensive searching because there may be one or two choices that provide significant savings.  it is never the same provider that will show the best option so its is best to broaden your search, which 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, search several aggregators, at least one from each mega owner, an independent or two, and don’t forget the airlines and hotels themselves.  Also, don’t just search the aggregators you are familiar with.  The best deals may be with search providers you haven’t tried before. 

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


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