When you’re searching for and find a best travel option, do you reserve right away? And if so, do you know who are you booking with? Do you know which travel search companies own who? At Opptee, we advise checking a minimum of four search sites before reserving.

That advice rang true when I went looking for winter vacation flights. I already had a good idea that I wanted a particular flight on American Air but when I scanned a variety of metasearch sites, I realized many of them didn’t show American or listed AA so far down that it took forever to find. Why wasn’t that American flight easily visible?

Many aggregators are biased and list their advertisers first. As well, many search companies are owned by each other. One corporation owns several searches operating under various names. That got me curious to find out exactly who owns who.

Which Travel Search Companies Own Who?

Interestingly, the more you dig, the more you realize how well connected many of the familiar travel search providers are.  According to Wikipedia, here’s the breakdown:

  • Expedia Group owns: Expedia.com,Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Venere.com, Trivago, Travelocity, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Orbitz Worldwide
    • Orbitz Worldwide owns CheapTickets; ebookers in Europe; and HotelClub and RatestoGo in Australia.
  • TripAdvisor Media Group was created in 2011 when it spun off from Expedia. TripAdvisor operates 25 travel brands including Tripadvisor.com, Airfarewatchdog, BookingBuddy, Citymaps, Cruise Critic, Family Vacation Critic, FlipKey, GateGuru, Holiday Lettings, Holiday Watchdog, Independent Traveler, Jetsetter, Lafourchette, Niumba, OneTime, SeatGuru, SmarterTravel, Tingo, TravelPod, Tripbod, VacationHomeRentals, Viator, and VirtualTourist.
  • Booking Holdings owns Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Kayak.com, Cheapflights, Rentalcars.com, Momondo, and OpenTable, Travelweb.com, Lowestfare.com, and Ctrip.
    • Ctrip owns Skyscanner, Tours4fun, Trip.com, Trip by Skyscanner
      • Oh, but the plot thickens: In 2015, The Priceline Group announced it was investing $250 million in Ctrip.

So, this means Expedia Group, Booking Holdings and Tripadvisor are the  “mega owners” of the travel search industry.  These mega owners, along with the sites not owned by them, should be searched to ensure you have the best deal.  It’s impossible to predict which sites will have the best deals.  Price disparities can be found even between properties owned by the same mega owner.

infographic-travel search landscape

Check at least Four Travel Sites

At the start, I advised checking a minimum of four sites before booking travel. Now you understand why and here’s what I like to do:

  • Check two search sites, one from each of the two mega owners
  • Check several travel providers directly  (airline, cruise line, hotel brand or car rental company)
  • Check one or more of the sites where you are a loyalty member
  • For accommodations, also search private rentals like Airbnb, VRBO, etc. and remember most hotel chains offer a price guarantee. More on that in Hotel Price Matching.
  • Finally, Southwest Air and other discount airlines (Allegiant, Ryan Air, Air Transat) don’t appear in aggregator searches, so must be checked separately.

The Quickest Way to Search:

When searching four or more places, convenience and speed are important.

OppteeTM Travel Search is the perfect tool to speed up those searches. Opptee offers the ability to enter your information once and search on any number of travel search sites – including mega owner sites, other search sites and direct travel provider comparisons. All search options are unbiased and listed alphabetically so you can easily choose a variety from American Air, Delta, and Expedia to Celebrity Cruises, Google Flights, Hertz, Marriott, Orbitz, and many others.

With Opptee, you need only input travel dates and location once. Opptee pre-populates that information over each search you request; whether Priceline, National Car Rental, Airbnb or any number of places you want to search.

So who are you booking with? Next time you search for travel you’ll better understand.

Now go out there and check at least four search sites and up to as many as you wish – all from one source. It’s fast and easy –just download Opptee to find the best travel options for you.

Opptee Travel Search: Your Personal Travel Agent

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