What Kayak is and How It Works

Last updated: January 2, 2017 - 9:36pm EST

There are so many travel accommodations booking websites on the Internet today that it’s difficult to know which one will get you the lowest price or has the best selection of properties to choose from. Some of the best resources you can find for travel are websites that show you the prices from many different accommodations booking websites at once.  This lets you choose the lowest price from among several competitors, so you always get the best deals.  One of these websites is Kayak.com.  But what exactly is Kayak?

Kayak is a travel accommodations comparison and booking website that emphasizes finding the lowest possible price for the user. By partnering with other booking websites, Kayak shows you all available booking prices for accommodations at once, and then lets you book with the website that offers the lowest price.

By searching for flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and activities to do at your destination, you can find the lowest price to book them at on any of Kayak's partnered websites. In this article, we’ll explain how Kayak works, how it got started, how it can save you money, how safe and reliable it is, and what Kayak’s top competitors can offer you.

How does Kayak work?

Kayak is a travel accommodations comparison website that helps you search for hotels, flights, and car rentals that meet your travel needs. By entering a few details into a search bar, Kayak will find you relevant accommodations.  Then, it shows you competing prices for them, so you can book at the lowest price.

You can also enter details of hotels and flights you are interested in, and track their price trends over time. You can use the Kayak trip planner to save searches and information (including prices) on accommodations you are interested in, and even build itineraries for your trips. To learn more about how to use the functions of Kayak’s website, visit our step-by-step tutorial on how to use Kayak.

History of Kayak

Born out of a need for more travel comparison websites, Kayak.com was founded in 2004 in Stamford, Connecticut by Steve Hafner and Paul M. English. It was acquired by the Priceline Group in 2013, becoming a part of a family of travel websites that also includes the likes of Priceline.com and Booking.com.

Kayak has always focused on showing you the lowest prices for your travel accommodations searches, and hasn’t needed to change what it does. However, it has acquired more partners over time, which allows it to offer you even more options for booking your travel accommodations. Kayak has also recently launched a mobile app, so you can check for deals on travel accommodations while you're on the go.

How Kayak can save you money

Kayak saves you money by always showing you the lowest prices for the travel accommodations that you search for, whether they come from Kayak itself or one of its partner websites. You can also track the prices of accommodations over time, so you can book them when they're at the right price for you.

How safe and reliable is Kayak?

Kayak is as safe and reliable as most other travel booking websites, and perhaps even more so.  It does not require you to enter financial or personal information on the website, unless you decide to book. You also receive confirmations of anything you book, and are guaranteed to get a low price from your search.

When using Kayak, users should beware of potential fraudulent emails from people acting as though they are from Kayak.  They should also be wary of any person that contacts them asking for personal or financial information. To learn more about these potential risks and safety concerns, consider reading our article on Kayak safety.

Kayak competition

There are quite a few websites out there like Kayak, each with its own unique qualities. Priceline.com allows users to name their price in order to get exclusive booking deals as they negotiate with Priceline's partners. FlipKey is a property rental website with verified property owners and over 5000 daily deals. Orbitz offers discounts with a superior rewards program, so the more you use Orbitz, the more money you save. Booking.com is very similar to Kayak, but actually guarantees the user the lowest price. And Hotwire.com is able to offer such low prices by having the user book before knowing which brand they are booking with.

There are a few other Kayak alternatives for you to consider.  One is Expedia.com, which has acquired some of the world’s leading travel websites to get you deals all over the world. Hotels.com only focuses on hotels, so if that’s all you’re looking for, you’re likely to find some of the lowest prices here. TripAdvisor is also a price comparison website similar to Kayak, but it also has an unparalleled database of accommodations information and reviews from travelers who have actually stayed there. Finally, Travelocity offers 24/7 customer service and an additional 10% off their prices for Travelocity members. To learn more about these Kayak competitors, check out our article on the best websites like Kayak here.

 

That’s our introduction to Kayak.com! In the rest of our course on Kayak, we’ll break down how to stay safe while using Kayak, and review Kayak so you can decide if it’s going to be the travel website for you. If you’re interested, we can also teach you how to sign up for Kayak, and how to use Kayak to book travel. Consider reading our other articles so you can become a Kayak.com pro!

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