June 12, 2009
Travel Search Engine Market is Growing, SideStep.com is the Latest In Finding Everything from Airfare to Hotels and Car Rentals
The leading pioneer of the travel search engine market, Kayak.com has launched a new separate search engine for the savvy traveler looking for a good price on airfares, hotels, car rentals, and more. Introducing SideStep.com, which is a search engine dedicated to the traveler. SideStep.com is free to use and generates its revenues from advertising and featuring travel agents. You also have the option to register an account with SideStep.com to get regular emails on travel bargains, but it is not necessary.
How does SideStep work? Well, if you are familiar with its parent company, Kayak.com, it works on the same time. When you open the SideStep website, you will see at the top right-hand corner of the website with the option to sign in if you are a member of SideStep.com or the register option, if you choose to do so. In the middle part of the page there is a set of seven main tabs and next to those seven tabs that allows you to subscribe to an online newsletter and feedback, where you can leave feedback.
The first main tab is the Flight Tab and the SideStep homepage opens on that tab. This tab is the tab for finding the flight to your destination and what the price of the airfare as well as a timetable of those flights. For example, if you would like to fly to Moscow, from Chicago, you need to type from the departure city Chicago. If you know the airport code, such as the airport code for Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is ORD, you can type that in as well. If you do type in the airport code, it will give you the city and the airport as well as the airport code. In the destination box, you can type in Moscow’s airports or codes. If you do not know the airport codes of Moscow’s airports, just type in Moscow and then click on the search button. You can also choose your dates of departure and return before hitting the search button. You also have the option of choosing a hotel or rental car as well. So, suppose you have chosen a flight from Chicago O’Hare to Moscow, Russian Federation for a trip from June 30 to July 10, 2009, click on the search button after entering the data. After clicking on the search button, you will find a whole list of airlines and their flights along with the price. One thing you should note is that annoying pop-up ads will come up during the search. In this search, you will see that there is a large variety of airlines that fly to Moscow from Chicago. You can choose to fly either United, Delta, American, Multiple Airlines, BMI or Lufthansa. On the list you can also click on the more details link for details of the flight. This gives you information on airports, with stops and times and price. It will also give you information on which agencies that you can use to book these flights online, such as Orbitz or Priceline, etc.
The second tab of the main tabs is the Hotels Tab. When you click on this tab, you will find that you can type in a city where you want to book a hotel and a date for checking in and checking out. You have already booked a flight to Moscow, so now you need a hotel. Type in Moscow, and the checkin and checkout dates should correspond with the dates of arrival in Moscow and departure from Moscow. For example. If your flight from Chicago to Moscow arrives in the morning of the next day after your departure from Chicago, July 1, type in July 1 for the checkin date. Your checkout date should be the date of your departure from Moscow. Click on the search button to find the hotels available in Moscow. You will find a whole list of hotels and the price per night. You will also find the star rating of the hotels. Suppose you want a cheap hotel. You can scroll up and down the list and you will find, for example that Hotel Milan is rather affordable with a $85 per night fee and is a three-star hotel. If this hotel suites your needs, click on the details link for this hotel. This will give you a list of all the agencies and their prices, taxes and service fees per night to book the hotel. You can also write comments of reviews of this hotel if you choose to do so.
The third tab is the Cars Tab, which is designed to help you to rent a car at your destination. You already have your flight and your hotel, now you might need to rent a car. You can type in the pickup location and drop off location. Logically you would want to pick up your car at the airport where you arrive. Suppose you arrive at Moscow’s Domodiedovo Airport. Type in either the airport code, or the city and the airport name, make sure your dates correspond with your arrival and departure dates. One nice feature of SideStep is that the dates will stay fixed throughout your entire search, then click the search button. Upon clicking on the search button you will find all the car rentals at Domodiedovo Airport and you can also click on details to find out more or even email the rental organization. You will also find the price per day.
The fourth tab is the Vacations Tab, which allows you to plan your vacations by booking your flight, including a price for both you and your spouse or significant other and children, if any are going with you. Works just like the Flights Tab.
The fifth tab is the Cruises Tab, which is dedicated to booking cruises. To find out about cruises available, you can choose a destination from the destination menu. For example, you want to go on a Trans-Atlantic cruise, click on the Transatlantic choice on the destinations menu. Then select your state of residence, and you can also choose a length of your cruise to be a specific length or any length as well as either any cruise line or a specific cruise line. Once you have made your choices, click on the search button. You will find that the only cruise line that offers Transatlantic Cruises is the Cunard Line and the ship that makes the cruises is the Queen Mary 2. You can see that there are three Transatlantic cruises, one is eastbound with the departure from Brooklyn to sail straight to London, South Hampton. You also have two westbound routs with the Queen Mary 2 sailing from London with ports of call being Halifax and the final destination being Brooklyn. You will also find the prices of the staterooms available on the ship.
The sixth tab is the Buzz Tab which is a tab that allows you to find the cheapest flights from your home town to 25 different cities.
The seventh tab is the Deals Tab, which shows you the best vacation deals available to all kinds of different destinations worldwide.
SideStep is based in Santa Clara, California and was founded in 1999. SideStep has 14 people on its management team and twelve people on its board of directors.
SideStep’s investors include Norwest Venture Partners, Saints Capital, and Trident Capital.
Norwest Venture Partners is one of the oldest vc firms, operating for over 48 years and has over $2.5 billion in venture capital under its management. Norwest Venture Partners invests in all stages of a company’s life and the sizes of investments can range from $1 to $3 million to $30 million. Some companies in Norwest’s portfolio include 3jam, Adzilla, BRAND.net, Cameraworld.com, Centerd, DeCarta, and others.
Saints Capital is based in San Francisco, California and invests in secondary investments of a company. Saints Capital is also an active investor with one of its general partners joining a portfolio company’s board of directors or management team. Some companies in Saints Capital’s portfolio include 3Par, Acorda, Acsis, Adexa, Allied Textiles, and others.
Founded in 1993, Trident Capital is both a vc firm and a private equity firm that has $1.6 billion of capital under its management. Trident invests in companies of all sizes and in multiple industries. Some companies in Trident’s portfolio include HIP Digital, Kayak, Spire, Timelines, Pegasus, US Interactive, and others.
SideStep does have some competitors. Its major competitor, however, is Priceline. Priceline is an online service for leisure travelers to enable them to book flights, hotels, and car rentals. Priceline was founded in 1997 in Norwalk, Connecticut, and is a privately owned corporation.
For more information about SideStep.com, click here.