Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Kayak won’t be opening any new hotels near you, but it’s still hoping to build on the technology. That too could be a big challenge.
Kayak went out of business opening hotels and branding Kayak hotels, Skift has learned.
Kayak co-founder and CEO Steve Hafner confirmed the news, adding that the company has placed about 10 employees in connection with the move.
“By the end of 2022, we have decided to focus on the hotel project to build a chain of K-branded properties,” said Hafner. “Because, unfortunately, we parted ways with a small group of people focused on that endeavor. We still have engineers on the tech side. “
The message was not reported.
Hafner said Kayak intends to keep the hotel technology under development.
When their contracts expire, Life House, which operated three hotels for Kayak, will drop the “Kayak” names of the hotels. For lease Kayaking in Miamifor example, it will come out in April 2024.
Rami Zeidan, founder and CEO of Life House, said the company is working with hotel owners to establish a post-Kayak branding, but will return to their names before a Kayak deal or something similar.
“We learned a lot from Kayak-branded hotels and the ongoing partnership,” Zeidan said. “We’re going to continue to work with those hotels and develop a great program with Kayak in learning them, which has always been the intention.”
The idea behind Kayak’s entry into the hotel business — beyond offering hotel listings, maps, and price comparisons on Kayak brands such as Kayak, Cheapflights, Momondo, and HotelsCombined — is to use Kayak’s brand recognition and user base to help attract guests, and to learn from technical operations such as they build more technical trades than hotels.
Hafner said Kayak still wants to build that hotel tech business. Sister company Booking.com, both part of Holdings Booking, tried something similar a few years ago, but the work was done, BookingSuite closed in 2020.
Although online travel relations with hotels seem to be better today than historically, a Kayak hotel tech project still faces the challenge of hotels not wanting to give up control of operations, let alone data, to an online travel company.
Kayak seemed to be committing to a hotel business in the first stage. Co-financed a $60 million funding round for Life Home in 2021.
In 2018, Skift thought that Expedia or Priceline were just the next Big Hotel Brand, as many things seemed to be coming together in the travel industry, including hotels and short-term rentals, for example.
When Kayak comes out to offer hotels under its brand, a prediction is impossible at this moment, but it still could one day.
This news has never stayed at one of the three Kayak-branded hotels, but hung out in the lobby of Kayak Miami Beach one afternoon a few months ago. She had a charming, social youth.
Still, the parent company of Booking Holdings and Kayak seems to have felt that the investment was not worth it, and, as Hafner said, the idea of building a network of hotels under its brand was not going to happen.