Kayak (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Type of site
Available in18 languages
FoundedJanuary 14, 2004; 20 years ago (2004-01-14)
HeadquartersStamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Area servedGlobal
Founder(s)Steve Hafner
Paul M. English
Key peopleSteve Hafner (CEO)
Giorgos Zacharia (President)
Ko Baryiames (CTO)
Amy Wei (CCO)
Peer Bueller (CFO)
Tore Pein Jensen (CMO)
ProductsTravel agency
Metasearch engine
RevenueUS$292.7 million (2012)[1]
ParentBooking Holdings
Hotels Combined
LaunchedFebruary 7, 2005 (2005-02-07) (Public)[2]
Native client(s) oniOS, Android, watchOS, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger

Kayak (styled as KAYAK) is a metasearch engine for travel services, including airline flights, hotels, rental cars, and vacation packages. It is owned and operated by Booking Holdings.[3]

Kayak's website and mobile apps are currently available in about 20 languages and 30 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia,[4] Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Belgium, Korea, Japan, and Singapore.


Kayak was founded in January 2004 by Steve Hafner and Paul M. English.[5][6] Before Kayak, Steve Hafner, Kayak's current CEO, helped found Orbitz in November 1999 and led its business development, advertising sales, marketing, and product marketing activities.[7]

The company was originally named Travel Search Company, Inc. and the name was changed to Kayak Software Corporation in August 2004.[8]

The website launched in February 2005.[2]

In December 2007, Kayak raised $196 million in a new round of financing from a group of investors including General Catalyst, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and Oak Investment Partners. Using that funding, Kayak acquired SideStep, another online travel agency.[9][10]

On March 5, 2010, Kayak sold certain assets related to TravelPost.[11] In May 2010, Kayak acquired German travel search platform Swoodoo.[12][13]

In January 2011, Kayak shut down SideStep and redirected SideStep traffic to Kayak.com.[14]

In March 2011, Kayak began providing results in the U.S. version of Bing from multiple cities, airports and airlines in Bing's travel search section.[15]

In April 2011, Kayak acquired all of the outstanding shares of JaBo Vertrieb-und Entwicklung GmbH, or JaBo Software, operator Checkfelix, a travel search engine in Austria.[16][17]

On July 20, 2012, Kayak became a public company via an initial public offering. On its first day of trading, Kayak opened at $26 per share and closed at $33.18 per share.[18]

On May 21, 2013, Booking Holdings, then known as Priceline.com, acquired the company for $2.1 billion.[19]

On September 25, 2013, it was announced that Connecticut would assist Kayak with a $2.5 million loan to help facilitate their move to the Harbor Point district of Stamford.[20]

In August 2017, the company acquired a Brazilian flight metasearch company named Mundi.[21]

In July 2018, Kayak assumed leadership of Hotels Combined, which was acquired by parent Booking Holdings.[22]

In September 2018, the company launched a feature to help travelers determine if their luggage fits in the overhead bin of planes.[23]


In 2013, Travel + Leisure named Kayak's app in its list of the Best Apps for Business Travelers[24] as well as its list for the Best Apps and Websites for Travelers.

Time named Kayak to its list of the 50 Best Websites of 2009.[25]

Mashable included Kayak in first place for the website's list, "10 Budget Airfare Tools Every Traveler Should Know in 2012".[26]

Kayak won the following Webby Awards:

  • 2008: People's Voice award in the travel website category[27]
  • 2009: The Webby Award in the travel website category[28]
  • 2011: The People's Voice award in the mobile travel app category in 2011[29]
  • 2012: 3 awards: both the Webby and People's Choice awards in the travel website category, and the People's Voice award in the mobile travel app category.[30]
  • 2013: Nominee for Best Travel Mobile & App for Handheld Devices[31]
  • 2014: both the People's Voice and Webby Award in the Travel category for Tablets.[32]
  • 2015, Kayak Mobile won again the People's Voice Award in the Travel category.[33]

The World Travel Awards presented Kayak with the World's Leading Flight Comparison Website award in 2013 and the World's Leading Travel Search Website award in 2011.[34]

All-American Muslim advertising[edit]

In December 2011 Kayak announced that it would not renew a contract to advertise on the TLC reality television show All-American Muslim. The decision followed a campaign by the Florida Family Association, a one-man fundamentalist organization focused on “defending American values".[35][36] In a statement posted to the Kayak website, Kayak chief marketing officer Robert Birge wrote that TLC “was not upfront with us about the nature of the show”.[37]


  1. ^ King, Danny (April 3, 2013). "Kayak turns 2012 profit". Travel Weekly.
  2. ^ a b "Kayak.com Launches Consumer Online Travel Site; Company Announces New Content, Features, and Distribution Partner; Plus, Kayak.com to Award Winter Getaways for Registered Users" (Press release). Kayak.com. February 7, 2005 – via Business Wire.
  3. ^ "Kayak.com: Private Company Overview". Bloomberg L.P.
  4. ^ Perez, Sarah (July 20, 2012). "Kayak Is Headed To Russia". TechCrunch.
  5. ^ "The Billion-Dollar Travel Agent". bostonmagazine.com. January 9, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  6. ^ "The Way I Work: Paul English of Kayak". inc.com. Retrieved April 14, 2023.
  7. ^ Timmins, Beth; Cox, Josie (April 26, 2017). "A View from the Top: Steve Hafner, founder of travel comparison site Kayak". The Independent. London.
  8. ^ "Kayak Software Corporation 2012 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  9. ^ Arrington, Michael (December 20, 2007). "Breaking: Kayak Raises $196 Million, Buys Rival SideStep". TechCrunch.
  10. ^ Luzadder, Dan (December 21, 2007). "Kayak.com, SideStep to merge in $196 million deal". Travel Weekly.
  11. ^ Schaal, Dennis (February 11, 2011). "Kayak has stake in TravelPost rollout". Phocuswire.
  12. ^ Zinnagl, Lukas (May 6, 2010). "Kayak swoops on German travel search engine Swoodoo [Updated]". TechCrunch.
  13. ^ "KAYAK acquires swoodoo, Germany's leading travel search site" (Press release). Kayak.com. May 6, 2010.
  14. ^ Rao, Leena (May 27, 2011). "in-front-of-its-ipo-kayak-reports-growth-in-revenue-but-income-down". TechCrunch.
  15. ^ Duryee, Tricia (March 4, 2011). "Bing Picks Kayak for Travel Search Partnership". All Things D.
  16. ^ Taylor, Colleen (May 27, 2011). "Poised for IPO, Kayak Reports Sales Boost and Global Growth". Gigaom. Archived from the original on November 7, 2019. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  17. ^ May, Kevin (April 5, 2011). "Kayak buys Austrian travel search engine Checkfelix". Phocuswire.
  18. ^ Empson, Rip (July 20, 2012). "That'll Fly: Kayak Closes IPO Day With Shares Up Nearly 30% And Market Cap Over $1.2B". Techcrunch.
  19. ^ "PCLN Form 10-Q". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  20. ^ "Gov. Malloy: Kayak to Expand and Create 50 Jobs in Stamford" (Press release). Connecticut. September 25, 2013.
  21. ^ O'Neill, Sean (August 4, 2017). "Kayak Acquires Assets of Struggling Brazilian Metasearch Company Mundi". Skift.
  22. ^ Schaal, Dennis (July 9, 2018). "Booking Holdings Buys HotelsCombined as Kayak Expands Into Asia Pacific". Skift.
  23. ^ Perez, Sarah (September 18, 2018). "kayaks-new-ar-feature-will-tell-you-if-your-carry-on-bag-fits-the-overhead-bin". TechCrunch.
  24. ^ Brown Hunt, Katrina; Samiljan, Tom (October 14, 2013). "Best Apps for Business Travelers". Travel + Leisure.
  25. ^ Fisher, Adam (August 24, 2009). "50 Best Websites 2009". Time.
  26. ^ "10 Budget Airfare Tools Every Traveler Should Know". Mashable. July 26, 2012.
  27. ^ "2008 People's Voice: KAYAK.COM". Webby Award.
  28. ^ "2009 Webby Award Winner: KAYAK.COM". Webby Award.
  29. ^ "Kayak Mobile For Iphone". Webby Award.
  30. ^ "We Won Three Webby Awards – Thanks to You". Kayak. May 1, 2012.
  31. ^ "2013 Nominee: KAYAK - MOBILE SITES & APPS". Webby Award.
  32. ^ "2014 People's Voice / Webby Award Winner: KAYAK Technology Team". Webby Award.
  33. ^ "2015 People's Voice: KAYAK - MOBILE SITES & APPS". Webby Award.
  34. ^ "Kayak". World Travel Awards.
  35. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. (December 16, 2011). "Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims". The New York Times.
  36. ^ Diaz, Johnny (December 14, 2011). "Kayak won't renew ads on Muslim TV show". The Boston Globe.
  37. ^ Elliott, Stuart (December 14, 2011). "Kayak Defends Cutting Ties to 'All-American Muslim'". The New York Times.

External links[edit]