I finally get my wish.
Kayak is one of the seven companies that I was hoping would go public in 2010. Well, it finally filed for its IPO this week. Since the other six companies appear to have different ideas than my tickertape wishes, the travel comparison site will have to do.
I've been a big fan of Kayak since its launch. The ability to scour several sources to score the best deals on hotels, airfares, car rentals, and vacation packages just flat out makes more sense than relying solely on Orbitz Worldwide
Kayak isn't the only site that does this, of course. Microsoft's
Thankfully, the copycat competition isn't getting in the way. Kayak's revenue through the first nine months of the year rose 48% to $128 million. This compares favorably even to market darling priceline.com's
Kayak is paddling along nicely. There were 469 million queries through its engine during the first nine months of 2010, 37% ahead of last year's demand. Did you catch how revenue is growing even higher? This means that Kayak is milking more out of every lead it generates.
Margins haven't exactly been spectacular, though Kayak has been generating operating profits since 2008.
The one question investors should ask here is if Kayak is going public as an exit strategy. If Google
Is Kayak built to last, or is this a matter of cashing out before intensifying competition eats into its heady growth?
I'll chime in as the optimist, especially since Kayak has had no problem growing nicely despite the presence of Bing Travel.
We live in a time of growing opportunities, and that translates into incremental revenue streams for the best brands. Kayak's mobile app rolled out a year ago, and it's been downloaded nearly 4 million times. It's currently the top travel app through Apple's
Now that I get my first glimpse at Kayak's financials, I would have loved to see chunkier net margins given its scalable model, but I can't lie: I wanted Kayak to go public, and it doesn't appear as if it will disappoint.
What's your favorite online travel play? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple and priceline.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz routinely leans on Kayak when it's time to plan a trip. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.