Skyscanner: Joining forces to improve the experience and convert lookers to buyers

Filip Filipov

VP of Strategy at Skyscanner

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We've come a long way from the days of being kept on hold on the phone while our travel agent worked out the best flight deals for our multi-city itinerary. The Internet and online travel sites have given travelers direct access to take this process into their own hands.

Skyscannerwas born out of the need to help travelers easily compare different flight options across different city pairs. We were one of the industry's first travel fare aggregator websites and metasearch engines created to help travelers navigate through the increasingly complex maze of sites. Since then we have become an essential cog in the online travel business having formed essential partnerships on our journey.

We started working with Amadeusin 2007, and have been using its MetaConnect Metasearch solutions, allowing us to scale our business in an easy, fast and sustainable way. In addition, the company's strong base of airline and agency partners was just what we needed to increase our 'look to book' ratio - converting a prospect to a buyer.

Traditionally, travelers use metasearch engines via desktop to compare different flight options to a specific destination. This usually involves having multiple browser tabs open in order to run those comparisons, check conditions, and then finally book. 

Now, with travelers increasingly using smartphones for searching and comparing flights, we realized that having multiple tabs open on mobile wouldn’t be ideal, so we sought to improve the user experience. With this in mind, we partnered with Amadeus to implement what the industry calls ‘Assisted Booking’. This allows the user to book and pay the merchant – be it an airline, hotel, or OTA – without ever leaving the Skyscanner platform. One of the first airlines we implemented ‘Assisted Booking’ for Finnair, which positively impacted our conversion rate.

We are looking at replicating this model with other airlines since we realize that all airlines may not have the resources to support huge investments in technical development. This is where Amadeus is a crucial link between us and various carriers and other industry players.  

While we have consolidated our relationship with Amadeus, we’re always thinking about what else we can do to improve the traveler experience. For instance, we’re looking into how to improve the speed at which we return results, the accuracy of those results, and the option of including different fare families and fare classes. On top of that, we’d like to give full visibility of the actual price of the fare families and ancillary services, something that is becoming a key requirement for travelers.

Another technology I am excited about and that we are looking into is real-time language translation in forty different languages. The ability to have someone who speaks English serve a customer who speak French for instance in real-time, can have a huge impact on end user experience. 

Ultimately, everyone wants to have one-click checkout (à la Amazon). We look forward to working on innovative initiatives such as these with the full support of partners like Amadeus.

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Live Travel Space, Customer Testimonial, Guest Post