Thursday, February 26, 2009

Expedia's Tripadvisor to launch new airline meta search site

At today's Goldman Sach's Technology and Internet Conference (BTW, this is the infamous conference that was moved three weeks ago from Vegas to San Francisco to maintain appearances) Expedia Inc CEO Dara Khosrowshahi briefly discussed the impending launch of TripAdvisor's new meta search engine. First alluded to in Expedia's Q4 earnings call and long surmised since TripAdvisor and ITA announced an agreement in January, it appears that it will go live soon. Very soon.

There is plenty of competition brewing in this space and Expedia is the last of the big 3 OTAs to enter the space. Travelocity has morphed igougo into something of a meta and Orbitz has long powered industry leader - along with every other fledgling meta search site out there. As we discussed earlier, TravelZoo has also launched a meta product under just a few weeks ago.

But, TripAdvisor may have the last laugh in this race. They have by far the largest user base and an incredibly loyal following of dedicated users. TripAdvisor is all about hotel and destination reviews today, but it does not seem that it would be too hard to get those same users to think about TripAdvisor earlier in their trip - when they are starting to plan and booking air.

We'll be back shortly with some traffic comparison numbers to muse further on the impending war of the metas!

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