Fledgling travel search player, Kayak.com, will kick off a pay-per-click search campaign at the start of this year, in a drive to develop an audience of interest to advertisers.

Published: 03 Jan 2005

Fledgling travel search player, Kayak.com, will kick off a pay-per-click search campaign at the start of this year, in a drive to develop an audience of interest to advertisers.

Also being pursued are further partnerships, such as the one Kayak.com has with America Online. This will expand distribution of its clients' listings.

"Media sites, portals, or even cross-shopping sites who lack a good travel offering now would be able to offer one," says Steve Hafner, Chief Executive Officer of Kayak.com, who formerly helped found Orbitz. "Advertisers will have access to a whole lot more traffic."

The online marketing effort will initially be aimed at encouraging traffic to Kayak.com's own site. By January, the company plans to have a portfolio of 1,000 keywords, which it wants to grow to 3,000 by February and eventually number 20,000 by the end of the first quarter. Text ads are to appear both on Google's network and on Yahoo!'s Overture.

Evidently, the company banked $7 million last week in venture capital financing,
earmarked for product development and marketing.

It is managing the campaign in-house, and in the first quarter of this year intends to bring on board a Vice President of E-marketing to oversee the initiative.

Kayak.com will manage its portfolio by conversion rate, initially using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. It says it is currently evaluating whether to use bid management software.

The company has already invested in search engine optimization (SEO). It hired iProspect to determine how competitor TripAdvisor had been so successful in ranking highly in organic listings, and to help Kayak.com implement some of those techniques as it developed its own site.

So far, Kayak.com has signed about 20 paying advertisers, which Hafner
describes as a ‘who's who’ of travel agencies, hoteliers and airlines. He also contends that the company is without doubt gaining traction.

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