Farecast an online airline and hotel fare prediction site has been brought over by Microsoft for 115 Million dollars. The site one of its own kind offers not only price ranged based search and route connections offering cheapest flying alternatives but takes it to next level by predicting fares of airlines and giving opportunity for people to lock fares for a price.
Near shore in India our home grown Meta search engines look Zoomtra and Ixigo still try to evolve into advertisement driven platform. Biggest problem meta search engines face in India is low rate of adoption of their model by airlines. Airlines dont want to buy traffic or pay per lead. They are ready to share the commissions if you are ready to take responsibility of finalization on your own platform. This is the reason these travel meta search engines fight for space with OTA’s like makemytrip.com, yatra.com, travelocity.com
So how can travel meta search engines survive if they wont get support from airlines? Answer for this would lay with using synergies or competition provided on offers by OTA’s to route traffic to them instead of airlines. Though in short term it will lead to reduction of repeat users but then these meta search engine sites need to evolve with better differentiator tools like a fare prediction algorithm or reverse auction of customer leads to airlines. Idea is to innovate on based of data generated on user pattern instead of relying on advertising or per user lead.