The Best Search Engine For Finding Lower Fares, Hotel and Car Rentals?

While attending the Travel Bloggers’ Exchange convention in New York this past June, I was invited to a presentation for a revolutionary, but relatively new flight search aggregator called Momondo.  I was vaguely familiar with the company because innovations in the travel world are usually spread like wildfire through the social media realm.  We (my daughter and I) were running a little late because we were caught in the moment while viewing the phenomenal skyline from the top of 30 Rockefeller Center.

Luckily, we weren’t very far from our destination at 1290 Avenue of the Americas.  The company hosting the event, Kintetsu International (the Japan specialist travel agency), was kind enough to provide saki libations and crudites, fresh fruit slices, sushi and sushimi for all of the invited travel industry professionals to snack on.  It was interesting to find out that the particular brand of saki that we were served was available in 50%, 60%, and 70% proof.  Knowing my low tolerance for alcohol, I decided to sample the 50%, god help me if I had tried the 70.

Search Engines

Sherry Ott from Ottsworld.com and Stephanie Butler from Fodor’s share ideas with their colleagues.

Not long after, we were called into the conference room where we were introduced to one of the partners of Momondo, Martin Lumbye, who explained the company’s mission was and still is to create the most trustworthy price comparison search engine in the world.

Martin Lumbye discusses what his vision is for his company.

Momondo, which means “My World” in old Spanish, began in 2006 as a small flight aggregator in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Their interface allows them to compare prices from more than 800 suppliers because they do not limit their searches to major carriers, they include discounters too.    Aggregators like Kayak, only have 300-400 suppliers because they have narrowed their focus to the major airlines.  Kayak steers away from discounters like Airtran, RyanAir or Priceline, so their searches are limited to major carriers.

Momondo wanted to create a search engine that could be easily used by any customer.

According to Mr. Lumbye, “Momondo’s promise to customers is powerfully simple: to provide them with the fastest and most comprehensive plane ticket search available on the Internet.  Momondo makes this possible through leveraging its comprehensive network of travel industry relationships and the most cutting-edge search technologies available.  As a result, Momondo combines searches across hundreds of websites with hundreds of different interfaces to return relevant flight options to the consumer or business traveler whether they use low-cost airlines, the well-known national airlines, online travel agencies or ticket databases.”  This means that Momondo’s searches include data from the airlines’ own websites and online travel companies, as well.

Plug in your cities of departure and arrival and your preferred travel dates.

To that end, I was sold on the product; from a budget traveler’s perspective, it is never a good idea to cherry pick options for travelers.  We need to know and have access to all booking venues, not a select (and usually more expensive) few that the aggregator limits us to.    Conversely, I would think that little-known concerns would benefit as well by participating on a more level playing field.

Once your search is completed, your pricing options are displayed in ascending order.

Momondo does not buy data from the airlines.  Instead, they employ web crawlers to search the internet for the best prices.  While they do have suppliers that pay them, they decided long ago to operate from a value-added perspective instead of a revenue generating standpoint.  They reasoned that if they only focused on revenue then they would have to use larger airlines in order to realize higher revenue streams and the everyday traveler would never have access to said discounters.  They realized that they must look at the big picture and provide the traveler with as many options as possible that would give them the best price in one place.  They couldn’t do that by limiting the number of carriers.

Once your selection is made, you can specify the number of tickets needed and you will notice that the supplier’s ratings are located on the left.  Here you can gauge other customer’s perceptions before pulling the trigger.

Should you decide to continue, you will be taken directly to the vendor’s website to purchase your tickets.

To bring this concept to even greater heights, Momondo launched a fully integrated train and flight comparison component to their website.  This move comes in a time with growing awareness of the environment-friendly high-speed trains that race between many of Europe’s big cities.“By displaying trains and flights together, we provide the consumers with even greater transparency, sending a green signal at a time where the climate is of highest priority”, explained Mr. Lumbye.

I don’t need to tell you how frustrating it is to find a good deal on a rail ticket.  It’s nice to know that Momondo is realizing how important the rail system has become and will continue to be to the casual and frequent traveler and is providing a unique service as a result.  Additionally, the site has a hotel and car rental search feature which intuitively uses the parameters that were set for the flight search and applies them to their hotel and car rental search engine component.  It simplifies what can sometimes be a daunting task.

After the supplier’s website is launched in a new window, you will notice that the Momondo site will display a short survey to record your experience.  You will be allowed to rate the supplier and give honest feedback.  This is particularly helpful for buyers who may not be as familiar with some boutique suppliers because they are small and relatively unknown.  This will give them some yardstick as to what they can expect from that particular vendor.  I’m most excited about this aspect of the site because it gives the traveler a way to instantly record his/her experiences.

At this point, I believe that Momondo has a leg up on the competition.  However, it won’t be difficult for competitors to adopt the same philosophy at some point.  Therefore, it’s essential for companies like this to continue to keep the customer at the forefront of their decisions if they want to grow their business.  All, in all…..I like the fact that Momondo believes in spreading the wealth and allowing the little guy the opportunity to compete with the big boys.  I can only hope that the competition will follow their lead because that will create a win-win situation for everyone.

Here’s Momondo and welcome to it!

Search Engine

Please note that this review was and is uncompensated and is a report of the presentation that occurred in the offices of Kintetsu International and any conclusions drawn from it are solely mine.

Comments

comments

Renee King
aviewtoathrill@gmail.com
28 Comments
  • Cathy Sweeney
    Posted at 13:31h, 27 November Reply

    Thanks for the introduction to Momondo – hadn’t heard of them before. Will check out further.

    • Renee
      Posted at 18:39h, 27 November Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Cathy! And readers, feel free to add other little known search engines to this thread….knowledge is power!

  • David
    Posted at 12:49h, 28 November Reply

    Sweet, I will check it out one of these days. Always something interesting appearing on the web these days 🙂

    David
    David recently posted…Lemanak River in Sarawak – Picture of the WeekMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:02h, 04 December Reply

      I know, David….it’s hard to keep up!

  • Adam
    Posted at 09:12h, 29 November Reply

    Yeah, I had never heard of them either. Always good to find a new place to find cheap travel deals. Thanks for sharing, I’ll definitely check them out!
    Adam recently posted…Buenos Aires through picturesMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 14:05h, 29 November Reply

      Glad to spread a little knowledge! I agree, Adam….the more info, the better!

  • Marysabel
    Posted at 13:20h, 29 November Reply

    I actually love Momondo, I’ve used it a couple of times to schedule some flights from Atlanta to Florida and they sure give you the best option (money wise). The engine is great and it is user friendly and DIFFERENT, that’s the best part!!

  • Migrationology
    Posted at 14:42h, 29 November Reply

    I just recently heard of Momondo but have yet to fully use their searches. Great review, I’ll be checking them out further!

    • Renee
      Posted at 15:11h, 29 November Reply

      Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by, I appreciate it!

  • Michael Figueiredo
    Posted at 15:26h, 02 December Reply

    I have never heard of Momondo before….thanks for the tip! If I only used them before I flew to Miami over Thanksgiving…I might have saved a couple hundred bucks! Next time 🙂 Nicely written review!
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted…Top 10- Things to Do in South BeachMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 15:44h, 02 December Reply

      Mike,
      A couple of hundred bucks? Ouch….well, hopefully you will be able to save just as much next time.

  • Jools Stone
    Posted at 15:34h, 02 December Reply

    Good overview Renee. I like the idea of Momondo mainly (as you can prob guess) because it includes rail options. I don’t know why so few other aggregators do this. Although in my brief exp of trying it out I didn’t find any rail options for my eastern European journey, so not sure if it only covers certain areas or maybe I was just unlucky with my search.

    • Renee
      Posted at 01:47h, 03 December Reply

      Thanks, Jools. I hope that they will expand their rail options if they’re currently limited or there may have been a glitch where it didn’t present results in that particular area. Either way, they need to address it.

  • Christy
    Posted at 00:50h, 03 December Reply

    Thanks for the heads up on this new site. I’m always sticking with the same old sites, and love to check out new ones. I bet the Travel Blogger’s Convention was a great experience. That’s awesome that you were able to go!
    Christy recently posted…Choosing A Travel BackpackMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 01:48h, 03 December Reply

      Christy, agreed. I love trying new site too….especially if they have an edge on the competition. I loved my first TBEX experience. I won’t be at the one in Vancouver next year, but it’s definitely a great way to network with other travel bloggers.

  • inka
    Posted at 00:57h, 03 December Reply

    Good to know. I particularly like that they deal with train travel too. It’s very difficult to find train connections individually.
    inka recently posted…The Grand Tour of Petra-JordanMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 01:49h, 03 December Reply

      Inka, I think that’s a major coup for them too.

  • Laurel
    Posted at 10:47h, 03 December Reply

    I had never heard of Momondo until the TBEX Conference in Copenhagen. I appreciate your thorough, unbiased review and will definitely check out their site the next time I need to book a flight or hotel.

    • Renee
      Posted at 13:04h, 04 December Reply

      Yeah, I was jazzed to see that they were one of the sponsors for Copenhagen….I guess that makes sense. Thank you for such a wonderful compliment, Laurel!

  • ElleX
    Posted at 23:14h, 10 September Reply

    Again, you are giving me a new site to explore!

    • ElleX
      Posted at 23:16h, 10 September Reply

      I meant explore not explode. LOL

      • Renee
        Posted at 23:21h, 10 September Reply

        HA! The grammar police beat you to it, girl! lol I’ve got you covered, Elle!

  • BJ
    Posted at 20:07h, 04 August Reply

    Renee – I was struck down with a case of ‘green with envy’ when I read this:

    “we were caught in the moment while viewing the phenomenal skyline from the top of 30 Rockefeller Center…”

    so I thought I was going to struggle to get through the rest of the post. Thankfully, you incorporated a sea of useful screenshots for me! 😛

    BJ.

  • InsideJourneys
    Posted at 23:40h, 04 December Reply

    Thanks for the information on Momondo, will definitely use them next time. It’s nice to have options.

    • Renee King
      Posted at 08:03h, 05 December Reply

      Absolutely, they have proven to be cheaper than what I could find on Kayak several times. A great resource to have in your back pocket at any rate.

  • J. Battah
    Posted at 11:45h, 22 April Reply

    Stumbled upon this. Hadn’t ever heard of them. Thanks!

    The best site I’ve found thus far is Google’s Matrix Software for flight search. While I’m pretty sure it’s the backend that all comparison sites use, it doesn’t offer links to actually book travel, but makes for great research.

    Seems to beat Kayak thus far. 🙂

    • Renee King
      Posted at 11:48h, 22 April Reply

      Hi Joey,

      Yes, it was only a matter of time before Google got in on the action after their ITA software purchase. I’ve tried them a few times myself and it’s actually not that bad. Thanks for chiming in on another alternative for travelers who are looking for the best deals possible.

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