CAPA Airline CEOs, 4 June 2019, Seoul (South Korea)
In Seoul, Hugh Aitken, Skyscanner’s Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, joined a panel to discuss the rapid growth of the Asian airline market. Skyscanner is certainly seeing this growth, particularly in Korea, Japan and India.
During the panel discussion, Hugh stressed the continual need for airlines to be truly traveller-first. To achieve this, airlines need to offer frictionless mobile experiences and look to Asia for inspiration, as the region is winning in this space. Skyscanner was an early adopter and continues to be an advocate for NDC. Through Skyscanner’s Direct Booking platform (which enables users to book directly with the airline without leaving Skyscanner platforms), our teams have delivered significant increases in mobile bookings for partners. While Direct Booking offers a solution to airlines’ dichotomy around balancing metasearch and direct channels, Hugh pointed out that technology – and API-readiness – is blocking adoption of NDC in Asia.
Finally, Hugh encouraged airline CEOs in Seoul to consider today’s traveller. Millennial travellers in particular are highly experiential, and much less price-driven than some carriers believe. What’s more, the way these modern travellers are searching for travel inspiration (via social media sites) is evolving. A significant portion of Skyscanner users don’t know where they want to travel to when they first log on. Hugh suggests that there is a lot that airlines and DMOs can do together to promote destinations when travellers are still dreaming about their next trip.
Gavin Harris, Commercial Director at Skyscanner, also took to the stage as part of a panel looking at the future of airline distribution, both in the context of NDC and beyond. The discussion covered the progress, blockers and complexities in effectively rolling out new distribution strategies. Some other recurring themes at the event included the industry-wide challenge of attracting the talent capable of delivering the aviation industry’s digital transformation and addressing its ecommerce needs, as well as how the sector can address concerns around global heating and the climate emergency.
CAPA LCCs in North Asia Summit, 24 June 2019, Cebu (Philippines)
In Cebu, Gavin Harris, Commercial Director at Skyscanner, joined a panel and discussion around passenger behaviours and the evolution from a focus on cost to one where value is centre stage.
Gavin listed three key areas airlines should focus on to meet the ever-growing and evolving expectations of travellers: personalisation, voice search and inflight connectivity. The opportunity is ripe for the picking, and airlines who can successfully deliver value to customers in those areas are likely to stay ahead of the competition.
Digital Travel Summit, 26 June 2019, London (United Kingdom)
Gordon Mack, Senior Product Manager at Skyscanner, spoke in London about how voice technology is radically changing the direction of travel. He outlined how leveraging this trend can help travel companies gain a profound understanding of their audience. Like any conversation, brands need to make sure they are listening to travellers. This is because every time a traveller interacts with a product – be it on web, app or via voice – they reveal something about what they are looking for. This insight is key to travel brands meeting their customers’ needs.
Skyscanner’s Sean Yu, Director of Product, delivered a keynote presentation on cracking the code to success in the world’s fasting-growing market: China. Sean spoke about consumer behaviour, and advised on the technological aspects to consider when thinking about the Chinese market. He said striking a good partnership with local agents can be a determining factor in gaining a greater understanding of local trends – including when navigating the complex social media arena and understanding how each platform can be optimised to boost bookings.