Tech Start-ups have made a habit of mocking the status quo and asking us, the public, to think outside of the everyday constraints – think driving to work, getting up to turn the lights off, pushing trolleys round the supermarket – that we assumed would be part and parcel of our every-day lives forever.
And that is what makes the sector such an exciting space. What problem are these modern day rock-stars going to solve next?
In truth, although we talk about the power of big data, algorithms, and machine learning, the internet’s biggest win in terms of making our lives easier is probably the humble price comparison site, with its database and search tools.
From Compare the Market, to Go Compare, to Money Supermarket, all with their distinctive branding and ‘hilarious’ ad campaigns, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to comparing products and services online.
At least we thought we were!
One London based start-up, however, doesn’t seem to think we have gone far enough. Sure, comparison sites are great, but like the best beers and finest Vodkas, they don’t just want filtered results – they want to show us the results of triple distilled, super-exhaustive searches.
When it comes to finding flights, they are not satisfied searching every airline on the web – they want to see the pick of their rivals’ results, too.
And that means comparing the comparison engines.
Welcome to the world of Meta-Meta!
Cheapflightsfinder.com say they will do exactly this. Thanks to their new dashboard, they say, users can “simultaneously search Skyscanner, KAYAK, Momondo, Dohop, Google Flights – and more”.
They call it “the world’s first Meta-Meta Flight Search”; and the best part, of course, is that it is an entirely free service for travellers.
CheapFlightsFinder CEO Shahab Siddiqui has commented “what many people don’t know about is that you can save up to 20% off your flight by comparing multiple comparison engines. The new CheapFlightsFinder dashboard takes cheap airfare a few steps further by showing consumers a little bit more than other sites are willing to share.”
So what’s the secret sauce?
It’s all about the “proprietary flexible date function”. Travelers can use the site’s calendar to scan the cheapest flight within a weekly, monthly, or even yearly timeframe – once they select the cheapest flights available, users can then compare top airfare meta search engines via the CheapFlightsFinder dashboard for further reductions and better priced flights.
“For the truly adventurous”, the company says, “CheapFlightsFinder has a one-of-a-kind ‘Flexible Search Everywhere” function, that, when compared with the flexible dates will return a grab-bag of exotic locations with low fares.”
In other words, CheapFlightsFinder will either find you the cheapest available flights for the times and dates a user specifies, or simply the cheapest available flights on the web. No mean achievement.
CheapFlightsFinder says its users will be effectively using more than 1,200 sources to find the lowest airfares, including sites dedicated to finding you the lowest airfare for your flight.
How very, very, meta!
“It’s easy, its instant, and it provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re saving as much money on your next flight as you possibly can”, says Siddiqui.
Those three words, “peace of mind” are manna to anybody using the web for convenience, efficiency, and simplicity. The kind of people who are more focused on the objectives of the trip itself than travelling to and from the destination, but who want to be sure they have done everything in their power to save their (or their employers’) money.
Now these people have a new resource to play with – it had better work!
CheapFlightsFinder has actually been around since 2008, and been endorsed by the Daily Mail and The Times amongst others.
The Meta-Meta flight search, however, is a new offering, as is a new mobile application which the company says is currently in development.
According to Crunchbase the company has only ever raised a small seed round, implying it is currently self-funded.
In a space like price comparison, the rules of the game are fairly clear cut – you need to give users more and better options, and deliver the cheapest prices 99 times out of one hundred.
You have to deliver consistently excellent results or your customers may lose faith and begin to return to comparison sites they have used in the past.
That’s the challenge CheapFlightsFinder will see uppermost in their minds – can their Meta-Meta concept deliver the goods every time – and how much clicking and form filling will the user have to endure. Clearly, the less, the better.
That is an enormous task for any development team, and in such a congested market, doubtless it won’t be long before CheapFlightFinder’s rivals to respond with their own disruptive new features.
Still – Meta-Meta has a nice ring to it – CheapFlightsFinder has definitely won the PR battle here – can they deliver the steak to go with the sizzle and outperform the likes of SkyScanner or Momondo?
They will certainly hope so – both of those companies have raised close to £100m+ investment, without ever attempting to go full “Meta-Meta”!
Advantage CheapFlightsFinder then? The benefits of Blue Sky thinking eh’