Skyscanner aims to challenge Baidu in the Chinese travel market – Telegraph

Edinburgh-based company acquires local start-up Youbibi to gain foothold in domestic travel comparison

bai_1950695bBaidu is China’s Google, dominating general web search and competing in many specialist search markets Photo: REUTERS

By Christopher Williams, Technology, Media and Telecoms Editor

Skyscanner, the British flight search company, aims to challenge Baidu, the dominant Chinese web search engine, with the acquisition of Youbibi, a local domestic travel price comparison start-up

The deal will see Youbibi’s 20-strong team, based in Shenzen, come under the control of Skyscanner’s existing Chinese operation in Beijing.

Skyscanner, based in Edinburgh, said the acquisition will provide mostly expertise in product development and domestic travel. Youbibi’s search receives only 100,000 visitors per month, roughly a tenth of Skyscanner’s Chinese website.

skyscanner_logoAndy Sleigh, Skyscanner’s general manager for Asia, said: “It’s primarily and engineering workforce. Our team in Beijing is primarily a sales and marketing workforce.”Skyscanner refused to disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

Like Skyscanner, Youbibi specialises in ‘metasearch’, or searching comparison sites. It is focused on the Chinese domestic tourism market, which the central government last year said it would make a development priority over the next seven years. Chinese travellers will spend $75bn online in 2017, according to estimates by iResearch.

Steven Pang, Youbibi’s chief executive, said: “We are proud of the technology that we have developed and, by bringing this together on our platform with Skyscanner’s global flight expertise, we believe we can create a really exciting travel search tool for all Chinese travellers.”

Skyscanner established its Beijing operation in 2012 via a deal with Baidu, which controls about four fifths of the Chinese web search market. The British company provides Baidu with international flight price comparison data.

Its push into the domestic market with Youbibi will put it in direct competition with Qunar, Baidu’s own domestic travel search tool.

via Skyscanner aims to challenge Baidu in the Chinese travel market – Telegraph.

2014: Is this the tipping point for online travel distribution in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel

Jun 2, 2014

As the travel industry starts to mature and new disruptive forces enter the fray, are you – and your business partners – ready to pivot?

skyscanner_logoIn a world where many travel brands want to drive more direct business, how do you choose the right partners? Whether it’s Google, Expedia, Skyscanner or Groupon, one pressing question is this: how are they going to assist or hinder your efforts in the fight to win the next billion Asian customers? By 2030, tourists from Asia will lead all regions of the world in total departures and travel expenditures. So yes, it’s a booming market and there are huge opportunities – as well as some significant challenges.

Over the past month, we’ve been talking to some of the speakers who presented at EyeforTravel’s Travel Distribution Asia last week. They helped us to identify some emerging trends in the region. Let’s now take a closer look.

1. Ready to pivot? Are peer-to-peer and villa rentals the next big thing?  Is this a tipping point in online travel?

Sean Seah, MD of Groupon Travel thinks so. “I think we’re at a pivot point. What I call travel 1.0 – the OTAs, search engines and pretty much metasearch too, which has been around for ages, have matured,” he says.

In APAC, specifically, this is a whole new segment, which could seriously shake up and disrupt the distribution model.“

In 2014 and 2015, the whole peer-to-peer model, like Airbnb and vacation rental space, like HomeAway, will be huge and that is going to make it even harder for travel suppliers like hotels to play the game, as these other guys are going to be just as good,” says Seah.

In Asia, there are still huge opportunities to run villas – especially for groups and families – in, say, Phuket and Bali

“The OTAs have brought transparency to the hotel space, but there is absolutely no transparency in the market for villas,” explains Seah.In other words, they are hard to find, very few are doing it and nobody has – as yet – gained critical mass. While, things are changing though this represents one of the greatest opportunities in APAC.

2. Mobile: it’s massive and it’s mainstream

For Skyscanner’s Andy Sleigh, General Manager, APAC you simply can’t succeed in APAC unless you understand mobile and are prepared to take advantage of mobile growth in a region, where around a third of the 4-billion strong population have access to the mobile internet.

“We take a mobile first approach – it’s a no-brainer when your mobile traffic more than tripled as ours did last year,” he says.

Expedia could not agree more.expedia-logo

Says Traci Mercer, Vice President, Market Management – Asia Pacific at Expedia Lodging Partner Services: “Mobile is massive, mainstream and the marketplace for travel is – Now!”

With mobile as the mainstream medium, Mercer says Expedia will be considering what the next ‘well’ is for new customer acquisitions. Watch this space.

3. Where next for wearables…and the smart TV?

For Mercer the big question is: “As we play this forward [the fact that mobile is now mainstream], what do wearables and smart TVs do to commerce online?”

In APAC, Mercer points toa leapfrogging of the PC in favour of smartphones and tablets or ‘phablets’ and this, along with the emergence of low cost carriers, is creating a larger middle class and creating an abundance of new travel consumers. Of course, when it comes to wearables, we aren’t just talking Google Glass, and there is plenty of room for innovation on this front.

4. Keep it clean, simple and transparent 

What KAYAK has seen through continued growth in 2013 is that there are similar user preferences across its various regions, and if we are speaking of integrity, it’s important to be transparent too.

“Consumers across all regions prefer a simple, intuitive and clean user interface, comprehensive search results, a fast response time, transparency in pricing, and a seamless multi-platform experience,” says Debby Soo Vice President – APAC.

KAYAK believes it is able to take its widespread and deep experience with consumer preferences in the US and apply those lessons to markets like Europe and Asia.

via 2014: Is this the tipping point for online travel distribution in APAC? | Travel Industry News & Conferences – EyeforTravel.

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Cheapflights ups brand building efforts to support international expansion | News | Marketing Week

Fri, 25 Apr 2014 | By Russell Parsons

Cheapflights is increasing investment in brand building efforts as the travel search site looks to support international expansion plans.

cheapflights-460-201_460

Travel search site Cheapflights is increasing the size of its marketing team and its marketing budget.

The firm has created a director of brand marketing role to oversee brand building and strategy for the Momondo Group owned brand.

The director will manage an increased marketing budget that will see the launch of its biggest campaign later this year, which will run in the UK and in markets including the US, Canada and Australia.

Once hired, the recruit will also oversee brand-building efforts in new territories. New sites are planned for several English language speaking countries –  details have not yet been announced but include Ireland where it does not have a site.

Momondo Group, which also owns the Momondo credited international marketing efforts when posting a 29.9 per cent increase in sales to £14.5m for the first quarter.

It also highlighted innovation efforts in mobile apps and optimised services. The company says 40 per cent of Cheapflights traffic comes from mobile devices, which is growing at a rate of 40 per cent annually.

The company wants Cheapflights to be the number one travel search brand in every territory it operates in.

In the UK, Cheapflights is facing increased competition from the likes of SkyScanner, which recently launched its biggest campaign and took on additional marketing resource to boost share, and Google ,which recently signed up Ryanair to make its flights available on the search giant’s Flights Search tool.

via Cheapflights ups brand building efforts to support international expansion | News | Marketing Week.

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WIT – WEB IN TRAVEL : Skyscanner kicks off first integrated marketing campaign in APAC

Posted on 17 Feb 2014 at 20:16 pmgoeverywhere

Global travel search site, Skyscanner, chose Singapore to launch its first integrated marketing campaign – Anywhere and Everywhere – in Asia Pacific with a call to action on 15 February for fans to send in a video of up to15-seconds of themselves, telling why they deserve to go on a trip around the world.

The lucky winner will be sent on a three-week adventure spanning seven destinations across six continents.

The campaign, which runs till end April, also includes an interactive multi-phase consumer contest offering winners free air tickets to numerous destinations around the world.

Aimed to drive greater brand awareness and traffic to the Skyscanner Singapore website, the campaign is divided into two phases:

Phase one is the selection of the winner to the dream three-week trip, with each destination randomly selected by the Everywherea feature%

via WIT – WEB IN TRAVEL : Skyscanner kicks off first integrated marketing campaign in APAC.