Those of you who are regular listeners to the CSP towers podcast will no doubt have heard of Skyscanner and its resident mobile guru Matteo. Although it sounds from his name that he would be a resident of warmer climes, he actually harks from my neck of the woods in Scotland. So, at the beginning of the month, I arranged to go and have a wee chat with him. It was also a chance for me to get a greater understanding of who Skyscanner are.
We’ve all been there: You have been to the Travel Agents and you have been looking for the cheapest way to get out to your holiday spot of choice, or you have had a last minute trip sprung on you by the boss. Pre-Skyscanner, this would mean going to each and every cheap airlines website to see what offers they had on flights. Needless to say, this is a pain in the backside. So in steps Skyscanner.
In its very essence, Skyscanner is a website that provides an easy way to search for flights, hotels and hire cars all over the world. They source the info direct from the airlines and travel agents, and once they find you the desired flight will provide a gateway to make the booking on the airline’s own site. I have used the site on several occasions to set up both business trips and weekend breaks. I have found it much easier than the older method – and that was just via the website.
This is also true on their Far East website version (the website will identify what country you are in), but with the addition of bus bookings in India. The introduction of the service will also facilitate flight users with easy transfers to India’s smaller cities. The company is massive and is growing rapidly with offices all over the world with the rise of travel in the Far East. This is a key segment of the travel market for them, and as a result they have a major hub out in Beijing, along with some satellite offices in Singapore and Shenzhen to comprehensively represent the Asia Pacific region.
Here are a few more titbits about the company for you number fans out there:
- Founded: 2003
- Global employees: Over 600
- Number of nationalities: Over 50
- Global offices: 9
- Unique monthly visitors: Over 35m
- App downloads: Over 35m
- Languages available: Over 30
Where our fellow Scot Matteo comes in is with regard to the apps they make. Do yourself a favour – have a look at your App Store/ Play Store and Marketplace on your phone after reading this and you will see that in there you can find a few Skyscanner apps.
At some point in their development, Matteo will have had his hands in the inner workings of that App, testing it to make sure it does everything it’s meant to. This puts him in a really interesting job as he gets to see the inner workings of all types of devices, from tablets to phones to desktop browsers. I can guarantee you that if we are looking forward to a big phone release, chances are that someone at SkyScanner will have one maybe a week or so before it launches… under the strictest NDA of course.
What is next for SkyScanner? Well unfortunately I don’t have a magic ball, but I would expect to see them develop an App for Apple Watch at the minimum. It would be cool if they were to be able to do something for Android Wear and Pebble Time as well.
Something that Skyscanner have done recently, and they are very proud of, is that if you are to try and find a flight on the Edinburgh Airport website you will now see that the search is powered by Skyscanner.
This is a new tool that they have developed to allow websites to use the data Skyscanner has to better facilitate customers’ needs. It’s something that the team are very keen to widen the availability of and with car hire and hotels in the mix, the range of their audience is huge.
They are also constantly working on tweaking the apps they currently do and improving them. I am guessing they will be keeping a close eye on the emergence of Ubuntu, Firefox and Tizen phones as these phones are very popular in the Eastern markets where we are going to see massive growth in the coming years, if not sooner.
It was great to meet Matteo and have a look around the office with him. I appreciate the insight that he gave me into what goes into developing a service that I now use regularly. Now go and get the Skyscanner app on your device or check the Skyscanner website, and get booking those flights!