Kayak is blaming the rise of the iPhone and the popularity of its app but the metasearch engine has effectively turned its strategy on its head by saying it will now take bookings for customers.
The company has released a new version of its iPhone app and says in 2010 it will be taking bookings via handsets.
These aren't ordinary bookings, of course, but what sound like good old fashioned "give us your credit card details and we'll do the booking for you".
Users will be able to register their details on the app and then Kayak will make the booking on their behalf, notifying them when the transaction is complete.
Details are a bit sketchy at this stage, with a briefing given to IT site GigaOM in the US, but a UK official plays down the development slightly and stresses that Kayak "will not own the customer".
What it does mean, however, is that Kayak will have to create a significant new department in its ranks to handle credit card bookings on the behalf of users.
In some respects the move makes a lot of sense for meta players offering mobile apps such as Kayak, mostly because once a search is carried out on the handset each user is at the mercy of the mobile version of the referred website to make the booking.
In other words, finding a relevant flight or piece of accommodation on the mobile meta site has the potential to descend into irrelevancy as the airline or hotel may not take mobile bookings, or the process is convoluted and not particularly good - leading to frustration with the user.
The second version of the iPhone, released this week, comes on the back of enormous success for the first app in the US where it currently sites at number five in the top free products in the iTunes store. It is number 20 in the UK charts.