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Airlines spoke, KAYAK listened

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Since 2004, Kayak has helped reshape our industry. Through calm and turbulent times, it has maintained its leading edge with a sharp focus on data and by constantly reimagining its travel tools so that they are both useful and user-friendly.

Despite its large size, the company is highly responsive. It recently listened to and followed through for its airline partners when they requested more content—flexible, modular visuals and messaging related to the specific airline offer—to be added to the site’s flight details.

In addition to a better understanding of their seat, flight shoppers needed more COVID-19-related information—the detailed measures and new policies that airlines had implemented to keep travelers and their money safe.

Harness the psychological power of visual content

Standardized Routehappy content, such as seat infographics, UTAs (Universal Ticket Attributes), and Amenities (available for 469 ATPCO Community Participant airlines, or 99% of flights) already provided Kayak shoppers with the essentials. But Kayak felt that the visual component that Customized Routehappy Content offers (such as Premium UPAs) appeals more to the eye and the emotions—and this would be helpful in conveying pandemic-related reassurance and other important aspects of the flight experience.

The visual content included in Customized Routehappy Content has a few key benefits that Kayak wanted to take advantage of.

  • Content is updated dynamically, which is a great help when information requires frequent adjustment.
  • Content is highly targeted by cabin, fare brand, subfleet, route, time of day, and more, enabling an accurate portrayal of what travelers can expect on their flight (for example, seat pitch, COVID-19 reassurance information, or what food and beverage or in-flight entertainment is available).

Kayak launched Customized Routehappy Content on their site in late December 2020, and initially conducted A/B testing before enabling it for all its domains and locales.

Luciana Bueno, Kayak Product Manager, said, “Our users seek out COVID-19 policies when they travel. Adding attractive graphics and clear callouts on our site, like whether an airline offers change fees or is blocking their middle seats, helps our users understand what to expect before they get to the airport.”

screenshot of Kayak display showing seat infographic with middle seat open

ATPCO Community Participant airlines can access many applications and tools to create, manage, and distribute products in a simpler way. This screenshot is an example of how seat infographics can convey the flight experience instantaneously.  

Routehappy content: A smart way to boost conversion

While most airlines have infographics available for channels to display, they benefit from a more customized version that differentiates products and services using the airline’s own voice and media, providing an extra boost to conversion, upsells, and ancillary sales.

screenshot of Kayak display showing photo of cabin experience

An Enterprise Routehappy Subscriber uses messaging and visuals to communicate how it positions its Main Cabin in line with the messaging on its own site.

Kayak: The better metasearch for differentiated airline offers

Kayak is the first metasearch to take full advantage of the full suite of Routehappy Content.

Luciana told ATPCO, “Users want to know exactly what they’re going to pay—especially in relation to hidden fees.”

Mobile moves forward

Traffic on Kayak’s mobile platforms is already back to pre-pandemic levels, whereas traffic on desktop platforms is not.

“We’re developing new features for our mobile products that help users understand what amenities are included in the cost of their ticket. This will include things like seat selection, baggage, flexible changes, and cancellation fees,” said Luciana.

Standardized Routehappy Content is already integrated on Kayak’s mobile platforms, and Customized Routehappy Content is on their mobile roadmap.

Here comes the sun

Kayak’s outlook for 2021 and beyond: Summer travel searches, particularly in the United States, are heating up with searches up as much as 79 percent month-over-month (as of the last seven days). Early this month (1–7 May) was also one of the best periods of international travel demand since March 2020, according to Kayak data. European hotspots like Florence, Madrid, Paris, and Rome are finally starting to pop again with searches to these cities up as much as 100 percent.

If you are an airline and would like to have content on Kayak, or you are a channel and would like to follow Kayak’s lead, improve your merchandising by reaching out to us today.

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Sophie Carkeek

About Sophie Carkeek

Sophie works with airline clients to create accurate, relevant, and inspiring merchandising content that captures the uniqueness of each airline’s brand.

She focuses on delivering quality digital messaging and visuals that enhance the flight shopping experience by providing customers with highly targeted information about the exact product that they’re buying.

Sophie is an experienced writer with an adventurous spirit. Born and raised in the UK, she has lived and worked in various countries, speaks several languages, and now calls New Jersey home.