The UK travel sector has a new metasearch player from today, Cheapflights having re-launched its .co.uk site under its price comparison model.
A travel deals publisher for the past 18 years, Cheapflights has been introducing or migrating towards meta in other countries with the UK always on its roadmap.
Cheapflights bought the Danish metasearch specialist Momondo group in 2011 prompting significant international expansion which led to an £80 million investment by Great Hill Partners last year.
The new UK meta site promises users an innovative and enjoyable flight search service that will help users to simply find the best option by filtering out unwanted results.
It includes one-click filters, a ‘Smart Value’ rating displaying results providing the optimum balance between travel duration and cost, and results that allow a true comparison of costs when ancillary fees are included.
Cheapflights said this was aimed at addressing the “black mark against the travel industry” that is hidden fees and ancillary costs and to ensure the site is transparent and easy to use.
The firm claimed the travel booking market had “become excessively crowded and cluttered” and the new site was designed to “bring the enjoyment back”.
The site offers the option to select an outbound flight and then pair all the return options. Users can pin choices that look promising to the top of the list for comparison as they continue to sort and filter options.
Hugo Burge, chief executive of Momondo Group, the owner of Cheapflights, said: “Cheapflights’ evolution into meta is about giving our users a transparent view across the market while making their experience simple and efficient.
“Booking travel is meant to be an exciting process but the wealth of choice and complexity of options often makes it overwhelming. We’re putting an end to that and providing a single source that drowns out the unnecessary online noise.
“This is the start of an exciting new chapter for us, where we focus on making products that users love – which is now at the heart of our DNA. The Cheapflights.co.uk transition is an historic moment for us and I’m especially proud of our team’s efforts.”
The new site design has already been launched in several overseas markets including Australia, South Africa and, most recently, Canada.
Cheapflights said the user response to each has been “overwhelmingly positive” claiming an 85% global increase in direct users to the Cheapflights websites over last year.
With 54% of Cheapflights users now on either mobile or tablet, the new site is full optimised and an app has been developed that offers the same simple user interface. The app has had nearly a million downloads from markets all over the world.
Cheapflights will continue publishing deals in its growing newsletter business.