AOL division debuted a new online travel service called PinpointTravel.com today.
At its core, PinpointTravel.com is a search engine for travel, querying multiple airlines and travel providers. After returning the search results users are directed to book directly from the travel supplier or agent listed on the PinpointTravel.com site.
Kayak Software, a company AOL invested in last November, powers the site and is currently beta testing the platform.
Kayak’s founders helped to create some of the most enduring online travel destinations including Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity. AOL signed a multi-year deal with Kayak back in November 2004 to develop and market the technology as well as making a minority investment in the company.
“It absolutely is a major win for Kayak.com and a huge vote of confidence,” Dana Galin, a vice president at Kayak.com, told internetnews.com. “Partnering with AOL represents another stage in Kayak’s commitment to helping consumers make informed decisions in their travel planning.”
“It also continues Kayak’s momentum in becoming the leading provider of search technology for travel on the Internet,” Galin added.
AOL.com will still link to Travelocity.com, though Galin does not see that as a problem for PinpointTravel.com or Kayak.
“In fact, we do not compete with Travelocity,” Galin explained. “Kayak.com is a search engine that searches more than 100 travel websites, not an online travel agency – we don’t actually book travel. In fact, we see ourselves as a fantastic marketing channel for the online agencies as well as suppliers, especially as our traffic increases.”
The online travel market is set to more than double over the next five years, according to Forrester Research statistics cited by Kayak.com. In 2004 online travel sales were forecast at $52 billion and by 2010 are expected to hit $119 billion.