Skyscan­ner soars high

Over the last six months, Skyscan­ner recorded an in­crease in its unique monthly vis­i­tors. The com­pany is in­vest­ing on en­hanc­ing its di­rect book­ings fea­ture, cur­rently op­er­a­tional with 20 part­ners glob­ally.

TravTalk - India - - TECHNOLOGY -

Air­line meta-search en­gine Skyscan­ner is work­ing at a global level with over 1100 mix of on­line travel agents and air­lines. Started over 16 years ago with a pri­mary fo­cus on low cost car­ri­ers in Europe, Skyscan­ner over the years has gone global and now fea­tures all air­lines across all sec­tors of avi­a­tion, in­forms Hugh Aitken, Se­nior Di­rec­tor—Strate­gic Part­ner­ships, Skyscan­ner. Aitken sees Skyscan­ner as the largest global search site with a clear phi­los­o­phy where the trav­eller comes Skyscan­ner third. “This means that we build ev­ery prod­uct keep­ing in mind the needs of the trav­ellers, build­ing their trust and en­gage­ment into our prod­uct. We also make sure our part­ners is of good qual­ity, con­verts well and thus helps them grow glob­ally. Most im­por­tantly, our con­tent pow­ers says Aitken. He ex­plains that 30 per cent from Asia with In­dia in­cluded in it, 20 per cent is from the Amer­i­cas and the rest is from EMEA. In In­dia, Skyscan­ner recorded 100 per cent growth in searches for do­mes­tic routes and close to 80 per cent growth in in­ter­na­tional searches. The trunk routes like Delhi-Mum­bai re­main the most fre­quent while on in­ter­na­tional routes, Lon­don is most pop­u­lar. Ger­many and Aus­tralia have also seen steady growth. The com­pany high fre­quency trav­ellers and is largely leisure cen­tric. “We de­velop prod­ucts based on not only the cheap­est route but also speed and fastest route from point A to point B. We have seen an in­crease in high fre­quency trav­ellers with a solid base of leisure tourists grow­ing day by day,” adds Aitken. Skyscan­ner is work­ing to­wards scal­ing its di­rect book­ings fea­ture which al­lows users to not only search with Skyscan­ner but also com­plete the book­ing within the plat­form. This fea­ture has al­ready been in­tro­duced with 20 part­ners glob­ally like Bri­tish Air­ways, Scoot, Sin­ga­pore Air­lines, Fin­nair, etc and re­cently an­nounced newer “We are not try­ing to be­come an OTA and thus, the air­line re­mains the mer­chant on record while the travel agent is­sues the ticket to the trav­eller.”

Tech Talk

With the rise of dif­fer­ent chan­nels of search and dis­tri­bu­tion, some tech­nolo­gies to fo­cus on. Aitken says, “Search by voice is cer­tainly grow­ing as our con­ver­sa­tional tech­nol­ogy is im­prov­ing rapidly. We are in­vest­ing in voice and bot tech­nol­ogy, and learn­ing how users are us­ing them. Al­though we op­er­ate glob­ally in about 40 mar­kets, we lo­calise our prod­ucts for the mar­kets with lan­guage, currency, part­ners, etc. Trav­ellers like to which have to be lo­calised.

com­par­i­son site, we also of­fer ho­tels and car rentals. We have re­cently launched an App only rail search func­tion in the UK and we will test this in the mar­ket to see how the users re­spond to it and then take it for­ward. largest busi­ness for us, we have seen steady growth in the ho­tels seg­ment too and plan on in­tro­duc­ing the di­rect book­ing ca­pa­bil­ity for this seg­ment as well.

Growth plans

The com­pany uses a mix of un­paid and paid chan­nels to mar­ket it­self and is also very lo­cal in terms of mar­ket­ing the prod­ucts. Aitken ex­plains, “We hope to grow not only di­rectly but also through our part­ners on the B2B side. We are try­ing to work to­wards mak­ing Skyscan­ner not only a price-com­par­i­son plat­form but a prod­uct-com­par­i­son site. We in­tro­duced data into the site to al­low users to see the var­i­ous ameni­ties on­board an air­craft can com­pare the prod­ucts well. We also in­tro­duced the Part­ner Qual­ity Score into the plat­form to al­low users to rate the ex­pe­ri­ence with any of the part­ners. Also, since In­dia is mov­ing so rapidly to­wards the mo­bile de­vices, we are also mak­ing all ser­vices mo­bile-ca­pa­ble for the mar­ket.”

In In­dia, Skyscan­ner recorded 100 per cent growth in searches for do­mes­tic routes and close to 80 per cent growth in in­ter­na­tional searches. The trunk routes like Del­hiMum­bai re­main the most fre­quent while Lon­don gains in­ter­na­tional pop­u­lar­ity.

Hugh Aitken Se­nior Di­rec­tor—Strate­gic Part­ner­ships, Skyscan­ner

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