Like most businesses in travel, Kayak suffered during the pandemic but is now plotting a path to some form of recovery.
CEO and co-founder Steve Hafner feels the “worst is behind us.”
During an interview at The Phocuswright Conference 2021, Hafner discusses developments from Kayak during the COVID-19 crisis including business travel and launching a loyalty program.
A third, and perhaps the most noteworthy and unexpected, was getting into the hotel segment via a property partnership with boutique accommodation player Life House, unveiled in Miami in March and a further two properties just opened in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
All properties are being operated by the partner, with the goal of making small, independent hotels run more efficiently and profitably, according to Hafner.
He says that the Open Table has been able to provide to restaurants that turned into engagement and reservations so the thinking is to do the same for hotels.
Going forward, Hafner says the plan isn’t to be a Marriott or even an Oyo but something more akin to South Korea’s Yanolja.
The discussion, with WebInTravel founder Siew Hoon Yeoh, also touches on attracting talent, fintech in travel and super apps.
The full interview is included below...
Executive Interview: KAYAK - Steve Hafner - The Phocuswright Conference 2021 - Center Stage