Skyscanner reports sales jump after ‘transformational’ year

Skyscanner reports sales jump after ‘transformational’ year

Travel search provider Skyscanner has reported a 42% jump in sales last year to £93 million with pre-tax profits standing at £20 million.

Revenues were boosted by growing numbers of website visitors and app users.

The Edinburgh-based company said more than 35 million people worldwide now used Skyscanner each month to plan their travel – up from 25 million a month in the previous year.

Skyscanner described 2014 as “a transformational year,” diversifying away from flights to travel.

It has launched hotel and car hire apps and established Skyscanner for Business, which provides data-led tools to the travel industry.

As a result, the non-flights’ contribution to overall revenues increased by 47% in 2014. The company said mobile growth continued to be key to the company’s strategy.

While 2014 sales represented a slowdown from the doubling in turnover in 2013, chief executive Gareth Williams said there was no reason to expect a lasting slowdown in expansion.

The shift of travel booking online offers huge potential for growth in a market where search remained technically challenging and there was no dominant provider, he told the Financial Times.

“We are at the very early stages of our development,” he said.

Williams said non-flight services comprised about a quarter of total revenues in 2014. Over time he expected flight and hotel search to each generate about one-third, with other services accounting for the remaining third.

China, where Skyscanner acquired search provider Youbibi last year, had seen a 61% year-on-year increase in unique visitors to more than 1 million users a month.

“We now have a dedicated software and engineering team that are working on a China-specific product and so I think that growth will accelerate going into the next year,” Williams said.

The company also bought Hungarian mobile app development company Distinction last year to accelerate growth of its in-house mobile team.

Chief financial officer Shane Corstorphine told the BBC: “It has been a transformational year for Skyscanner and we’ve seen record numbers of people using our website and apps.

“These additional visitors are the result of an increase in our market share within existing markets, which is pleasing to see.

“Our primary focus for the year has been investing for future growth, and this approach has been making an impact for us sooner than anticipated.

“While our revenues continue to be led primarily by flights, the addition of new hotel and car hire products, as well as the creation of our Skyscanner for Business team, has had a key role to play in our growth, which we anticipate will increase over the next year.

“We also escalated our product development in China, and our mobile development capabilities globally through the acquisitions of Youbibi and Distinction.”

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