Phocuswright: Skyscanner targets loyalty by increasing frequency of enagement

Phocuswright: Skyscanner targets loyalty by increasing frequency of enagement

Skyscanner says it will seek to exploit social and invest in video, as it looks to build loyalty and frequency of use among its customer base.

The Edinburgh-based metasearch site also believes the travel industry is under-estimating the influence of mobile, as more powerful devices like the Apple iPhone 6 are rolled out.

Speaking to Travolution at the Phocuswright conference in Los Angeles this week, Mark Logan, chief operating officer at Skyscanner, said the firm would continue to innovate its marketing strategy.

He said Skyscanner was among the early adopters of Facebook’s mobile app install ads, which drove millions of app downloads in a short space of time “very cost effectively”.

Logan said Facebook is becoming a serious alternative to Google and was continuing to innovate, and that it would invest in exploiting new channels as they mature.

Due to the relatively infrequent use of travel sites, particularly in leisure, Logan said Skyscanner will try to emulate LinkedIn which has given people more reason to use it other than just job seeking.

“Our focus will be on bringing frequency of use in to our product because that reminds users we exist and we do not then have to reacquire customers.

“Fifty per cent of our users are repeat, and that’s strong, so we will be doing more with that on social platforms.

“Travel is always at a slight disadvantage to other sectors because frequency characteristics are so low.

“Our best customers might use us two or three times a year, so loyalty is a lot to do with habit and in travel it’s difficult to form a habit in that regard.

“By being fleet of foot from a marketing perspective we get good reach from our activities.

“We will be innovative, but underlying that there is no substitute for having a good product that does good things for people.”

Logan said Skyscanner plans to “invest heavily” in video content and that mobile was an area that offered great potential.

“The first thing to note is that there is no such thing as the mobile user, there is a multi-platform user,” he said, adding: “It is becoming the predominant platform people engage on.”

“We believe people in general are underestimating the power of mobile. The industry as a whole needs to move away from thinking about it as an inferior desk top.”

Skyscanner has recently launched a new hotels mobile application and in October bought Budapest-based mobile app developer Distinction to accelerate its development capabilities.

Following the launch of its business to business division last year, Skyscanner said it has grown nine-fold and become a “substantial part of its business”.

Logan said it now represents a single digit percentage of the firm’s overall revenues and he was optimistic the growth rate it has seen this year will continue.

Skyscanner has launched three elements of Skyscanner for Business: a white label API, version two of which has just been released, Travel Rankings and Travel Insights.

Travel Rankings allows firms to benchmark themselves against competitors based on search results on the site, and Travel Insights which offers a dashboard of data to help firms plan for demand.

Logan said Insights was bringing science to route and capacity planning for airports, airlines and consultancies.

“It’s pretty unique because the industry has been used to looking at booking data but we are looking at what people were looking to book.

“It’s also not just historical, we can look at what booking patterns are for the months ahead so we can offer the industry a level of advanced prediction.

“Knowing where people are searching to go is valuable information. I’m quite happy to have the data out there because it reminds people in the sector we have fantastic coverage.

“I expect this area to grow very strongly in terms of the proportion of overall revenue but I would not expect it to dominate the business.”

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