Kayak buys German travel search site Swoodoo
Kayak intends on running the two companies as separate entities but will “integrate technology best practices” between the pair over the coming months.
The deal sees Swoodoo chief executive Christian Saller take on the additional role of managing director for Kayak in Germany. The senior management team at Swoodoo will also take responsibility for both brands.
Kayak CEO Steve Hafner says:
“On many metrics, Swoodoo has been outperforming us in Germany. We’re glad to now have their team on our side of the table. This acquisition gives us a clear leadership position in Europe’s second largest online travel market.”
Deal rhetoric aside, Kayak’s move perhaps signifies that it is intends taking Europe seriously again after a low-key start in terms of traffic and the well known falling out and subsequent exit of its former European managing director Faisal Galaria.
Chief marketing officer Robert Birge says Europe is a “big focus” for the company and it will look to grow in markets elsewhere around the continent by either supporting its existing marketing efforts or through other acquisitions.
Ex-Skype executive Galaria was appointed as managing director for Kayak’s businesses outside the US in September 2008, but left under a cloud just nine months later in April 2009.
At the time it was understood that Galaria and other senior management in the US had disagreed over the strategy needed to build the Kayak business in Europe, a continent with challenges Hafner et al had not faced when creating the business in the US.
The Swoodoo deal is the first significant step on the acquisition trail for Kayak since it bought rival US metasearch site Sidestep in late-2007.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.