Kayak Launches New Premium Digital Experience

The new offering will allow users to check in and out of hotels on their phone and access curated listings.

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Need to Know

  • Launching next week for US mobile users, Kayak Premium will feature a curated selection of promoted listings that represent the needs of a quality-focused traveler.
  • After its initial launch, Kayak Premium users will be able to check-in and out of hotels directly within the Kayak’s app.
  • Enabling the book-in feature in the app required Kayak to sync with the technology systems of rental property management companies and hotel property systems.
  • Projected vacation rental revenue for 2019 is $57.7 billion, growing 7% year-over-year.

Analysis

The short-term rental market is booming and Kayak wants more. In an attempt to simplify the travel experience and provide users more control, the company recently announced a new in-app feature, Kayak Premium. 

According to the company’s website, Kayak Premium will allow users to view Kayak-endorsed travel options, making it easier for travelers to locate and enjoy high-quality and tech-forward experiences. Future updates to the app will also allow users who booked through Kayak the ability to check-in and out of rentals or hotels. 

Kayak-endorsed listings will include professionally managed short-term rentals and boutique hotels that meet the following specifications: Professionally managed, positively reviewed, and offering hotel-standard amenities that cater to tourists and business travelers alike. 

Kayak Premium will use machine learning and AI techniques to provide its users with a specific amount of curated travel options when it makes the most sense based on user preferences.

“It’s not curation in terms of excluding inventory,” said Kayak CEO Steve Hafner at a recent summit. “It’s about making sure that we properly badge and promote inventory that we think is a great fit for our users. We’ll be promoting [select inventory]—recommending those travel options to our audience when we think it makes sense.”

The growth of short-term rental options has travelers looking for accommodation outside traditional hotel offerings. With over 150 million users worldwide, industry giant Airbnb claims that on any given night, two million people are staying in Airbnb rentals across the world. Kayak is hoping to win some of those users by offering a more seamless check-in experience.

Helping its users find the perfect place to stay has always been Kayak’s plan, and that’s not changing. The new Premium feature rolls out with accommodations, but the company plans on expanding to other travel experiences in the future. 

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