Nicolas Scafuro, VP de LATAM Kayak: “Latam is Still in the Early Stages of Maturity Compared to the U.S.”

Travel is a vibrant category in the Latin American (digital) marketing space. Kayak the fare aggregator and travel metasearch engine owned  by the The Priceline Group, is a player in the region. Portada interviewed Nicolas Scarfuro, VP Latam at Kayak. Scarfuro answered questions on the company’s Latin American marketing as well as its advertising and programmatic offering.

Portada: What distinguishes Kayak’s offering in Latin America?
Nicolas Scafuro, VP de LATAM KAYAK.: “KAYAK has dedicated sites in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru. In those markets, KAYAK not only displays its content in local language and currency, but also, offers from a mix of global and local relevant travel companies that consumers trust and foresee when planning their trips. These local companies usually offer local payment methods, as well as, local customer support. By creating specific marketplaces, local consumers can benefit comparing offers in their own currency, saving money and time. These also create advertising opportunities for local travel suppliers, aiming to reach KAYAK’s Latin America audience. ”

What is your key role, when leading Kayak’s Miami office?
N.S.: “My objective as regional lead is twofold: grow our audience in Latin America markets while offering relevant content, building local marketplaces with regional travel companies.”

Does Kayak sell advertising on its site?
N.S.: “Yes, we offer a combination of performance and display advertisement. Our performance based advertisement offering is an alternative to traditional SEM channels, with excellent results for travel suppliers. Our sites connect travelers looking for the best travel deals with companies who offer them (Online Travel agencies, Airlines, Hotels, Car Rental companies, etc). We offer different options to connect advertisers with this audience and obtain better exposure in our site, sending leads to them.”

Can you explain on your programmatic offering?N.S.: “We are connected to ad exchanges to offer our content , that way, many advertisers can find their consumers using our very niche and premium audience. We work with programmatic guaranteed model – for those who wants to have a reserved inventory; and also with PMP (private market places)- for advertisers who want to have their own private placement and bid to show whenever there is a premium public that may convert into their site.”

Do you also offer brand content programs/native advertising?
N.S.: “Yes, we do offer our own version of sponsored links in our search results, we call that Inline Ads. We also have other native formats focused on performance. As far as special content programs, we do have a program tailored to Destinations/Tourism Bureau and Airlines. We recently did a very successful content campaign with Bahamas and Qatar. ”

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What role does App Marketing play for Kayak in Latin America in order to both acquire and engage customers?
N.S.: “Mobile is an important component of our strategy and growth in the region. KAYAK offers one of the most comprehensive solutions, helping travelers to plan and manage their trips. For instance with trips, travelers can easily digitize their itinerary, monitor any changes (flight delays, changes in gates, etc) and share their plans with friends. In addition, with “Save for later”, KAYAK users can start their travel planning conveniently on the phone and finish later on the desktop, when they are ready to finalize their plans.”

How is Latin America different in terms of a region where Kayak markets its products compared to the U.S.?
N.S.: “Latam is still in the early stages of maturity when compared to the US where markets are much more developed and sophisticated. It is a great opportunity for advertisers, as our local marketplaces are not as developed when comparing with the U.S., and therefore requires much lower levels of investment but still with similar performance levels.”

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The first day of PortadaLat will focus on how technological innovation is impacting key segments of business and marketing with emphasis on Travel and Sports. All sessions, keynotes and marketing-tech showcases are included as well as light food, sandwiches and beverages. (US $199)
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