So where does metasearch sit in all of this? As a collective, flight metasearch engines have begun to move towards "facilitated booking". This partly addresses the challenge of creating a seamless booking experience for travellers, through NDC and dynamic connectivity, however as we shall see the opportunities in this space are yet to be fully exploited.
Other industries, such as e-commerce, have given supplier brands the space and control to display their products, offering a store-front of sorts, with abundant up-sell purchasing options baked in. The model for this has been particularly well-executed in markets like China, where shopping sites like Tmall offer suppliers "flag-ship stores" to brand their products in a way that is almost identical to their own sites. These are still marketplaces where sellers must compete for their business, but offer an online shop window for brands that provides the same experience to users as their own sites.
Apply this to metasearch: the winners in this space - both among airlines and intermediaries - will be those that can see the value in bringing a rich and differentiated shopping experience to travellers, across the greatest span of platforms and devices.
As a step towards this, travel metasearch engines have sought to streamline the process of searching and booking by moving to facilitate the booking stage of the process, giving travellers a more seamless experience through various forms of connectivity and APIs, including NDC.
The airline marketplace that Skyscanner offers is already leading the field for connectivity to airline inventory. In fact, Skyscanner is the only global metasearch to have been recognised by IATA with Tier 3 implementation of the New Distribution Capability (NDC) in addition to supporting platforms such as Navitaire and Amadeus. Altogether that means Skyscanner offers carriers the ability to sell their fares to an audience of over 50 million unique monthly visitors, connecting to audiences and meeting travellers on an unrivalled range of channels and devices.