How well do travel search engines really deliver, we ask ourselves? - It's a given trend that consumers have changed the way they research and book travel.
To meet growing online needs, travel search engines have developed and expanded as a resource, both in design and capacity.
Travel meta-search engines are no longer limited to databases but can and do search several online travel websites simultaneously.
In a comparative survey carried out by 4hoteliers.com this week, we looked at the following 5 leading travel search engines: Hotelscombined, Kayak, TripAdvisor, Nextag and Sidestep.
Whilst each site varies in style, presentation and ease of use, the aim of each is the same: to search the maximum number of hotel sites to provide the maximum number of available hotels for their customer to choose from, for any given date.
The survey conducted looked at the world's 10 most visited cities: Paris, London, Barcelona, New York, Beijing, Rome, Mexico City, Istanbul, Frankfurt, Moscow.
What has been noted is that not all travel search engines search in the same way. For example, both sidestep and Nextag do not search their hotels individually but as groups. In this instant, often the same hotel will appear more then once, giving an inflated final statistic.
However, even with this fact considered, the results indicate that HotelsCombined.com far out searches other travel search aggregator sites. That is to say, they search the most individual hotels (for most cities).
Upon hearing the results, Michael Doubinski, Business Development Manager at Hotelscombined ( www.hotelscombined.com )
"It doesn't come as a surprise that we compare more hotels than others. Our past successes included HotelClub.com and RatesToGo.com websites, so we joined travel meta-search game with solid experience and what's very important, we learned on mistakes of others. Keep in mind that this comparison niche is very complex, even such giant as PriceGrabber.com had to shut down their travel comparison section. So, only the teams with best technical knowledge and industry experience can survive, and we have both."
Also, "We are already the leader in terms of usability. We have more hotels and more hotel information from compared sites easily accessible on a single hotel page in a smart Web 2.0 interface."