From "direct" to "facilitated" booking: SkyScanner on the future of distribution
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Skyscanner believes that the lines between direct and indirect distribution are blurring and is ramping up its facilitated booking strategy as a result.
Consumers are changing how they plan and book a trip while airlines in particular have changed how they distribute inventory, prompting a rethink in how Skyscanner, which sits in the middle, responds to both.
For metas such as Skyscanner the opportunity is “facilitated booking” – giving users the chance to complete their bookings within Skyscanner, using an airline-branded booking path, interface and product set which closely mirrors the experience the customer would get at the airline dotcom.
Skyscanner believes that the natural progression of facilitated booking is to give its airline and OTA partners “a shop-front of sorts” on Skyscanner.
Chatbots, voice search and social media are changing the distribution landscape, all in the context of consumers expecting to be able to engage with travel suppliers using whatever hardware or channel they chose.
Around 60% of Skyscanner’s traffic comes from mobile devices with some material difference in usage patterns between markets.
Skyscanner is learning all the time about not only how best to make sure its integration with airline and OTAs works globally but also how it can optimize its partners’ presence on Skyscanner.
Skyscanner is some kind of “marketplace” – somewhere buyers and sellers meet to do business. It is an established offline and online concept but one Skyscanner thinks needs updating.
In the same way as the lines between direct and indirect are blurring, so too it seems are the lines between meta and a marketplace.