Skyscanner with Ctrip post-acquisition, future of online travel tech
Post-acquisition, Skyscanner is working to bolster its position against companies like Ctrip’s US rival Expedia, as well as address a market that’s changing by evolving technology and user savviness.
Online travel site Skyscanner has established itself as one of the most influential air travel marketplaces worldwide. The Scotland-born startup has grown to a global company with more than 900 employees in 10 offices around the world, claiming over 60 million monthly active users and an equal number of downloads.
But the company truly made headlines in Asia late last year, when it was announced that Chinese online travel giant Ctrip acquired Skyscanner for USD 1.74 billion.
Skyscanner’s latest tech efforts include automation, developing chatbots for a variety of platforms like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Amazon’s Alexa. The company says India has the most Facebook bot users, with the Philippines and the US following.
In an interview with TechInAsia last week, Skyscanner co-founder and CEO Gareth Williams commented on how things stand for the company and what the near future looks like.
In terms of the Skyscanner day-to-day, how much time is devoted to building and improving new technology versus developing the business? Do you see the company still innovating in the technology space?
Yeah, absolutely. The whole team spends a huge amount of time focused on what we are improving or what we are starting afresh.
To get to the point where you’ve got a predicting personal agent that knows when you need to check in, knows which information to give you, suggests that you book a taxi now – all these different things are way more work than we’ve put in so far. I think we’re still a company that seeks to find its ultimate product-market fit, as it were.
What are the immediate goals for Skyscanner now? What does the near future look like?
Building traveler tools, essentially. We’ve got a huge backlog and we’re building products in all parts of the world. We’ve got software engineers, designers, product people, growth marketers. And they’re building things that are deployed worldwide. We’re now over 50 different nationalities, I think, and my ideal goal, the end result I’d love to see, would be we end up without an identifiable headquarters.
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