Skyscanner boss Gareth Williams has set out his vision for the future distribution of air fares and what this means for metasearch sites in a new White Paper.
The paper sets out Skyscanner’s intention to transition towards becoming a marketplace in which travellers can shop for a rich array of air-fares.
It sees this evolving into a seamless process from start to finish, regardless of the device the consumer is using.
Williams says that the lines are blurring between what is seen as direct air ticket purchase and those through third parties due to evolving click-tap platforms such as chat bots.
This is being driven by the demand for a frictionless shopping experience and the requirement for airline products to stand out in the marketplace.
Skyscanner says it intends to lead the field when it comes to distributing carriers’ products by creating an airline marketplace offering carrier ‘store-fronts’ which are indistinguishable from airlines’ own booking sites.
The Edinburgh-based firm says this marketplace would give greater branding control to suppliers while allowing them to tap into Skyscanner’s wide audience of travellers across a range of devices.
Williams said: “Our vision for the future is collaborating with airlines in delivering our version of the supplier managed marketplace to travellers worldwide.
“We want to bring airline products on our site as close to the direct experience as possible, with carriers controlling their products and brand while benefitting from our traffic, and audience, across a range of devices.
“This means offering a form of airline store-front. For travellers, the experience on Skyscanner is then virtually indistinguishable from the experience on airline.com – yet has the advantage of being available on desktop, app or any device.
“Airlines must have the opportunity to stand out in the next generation of distribution, particularly as travellers increasingly expect to be able to transact on smaller screen sizes with shorter purchasing journeys which offer a seamless booking process.”
Iata has recognised Skyscanner for its approach towards evolving distribution through its New Distribution Capability standard.
Yanik Hoyles, director of the NDC Program, says in the White Paper: “The pace of innovation and change is accelerating, prompted by worldwide access to the Internet and the rapid development of mobile, among many others factor.
“In this sense, Skyscanner is leading the way by having achieved the highest level of NDC Certification as an aggregator, allowing its partner airlines to offer their entire range of products – including upsells and ancillaries- when displaying their content through Skyscanner.”
Last month Skyscanner introduced new features such as seat selection and fare families which it claims has seen average conversion rate increases for carriers of up to 50% for mobile bookings and 100% on ancillary upsell.
Several airlines have integrated on the platform already, including Finnair, British Airways and Scoot, with a strong pipeline of carriers going live in the near future.