Metasearch site Skyscanner has announced a significant development in is business model, becoming the merchant of record in three markets for mobile bookings.
The Glasgow-based firm says the move, initially in Australia, Singapore and the UK, reflects how the industry has not been offering consumers the experience they demand on mobile.
Skyscanner sees 65% of traffic come via mobile, rising to 80% in some regions, and yet many people still opt to book on traditional desktop channels.
Announcing that Skyacanner now participates directly in its own marketplace as a merchant selling flights, Bryan Dove, chief executive said:
“It’s not a secret that people are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to plan their travel. Yet, the travel industry hasn’t been meeting their expectations.
“While most travelers start their planning on a phone – for Skyscanner, mobile traffic is 65% globally and exceeds 80% in some regions – the majority still switch to a computer to complete their booking.
“It isn’t what travelers want, and this doesn’t meet the needs of the next wave of travelers, who rightly demand to be able to do everything from their phone.
We’ve always focused on doing what’s right for the traveler. Travelers have been asking us to combine our global selection and great prices with the mobile convenience they expect. Now, we’re able to address this need.
“It’s early days, but we’ve seen fantastic results with our new flight booking service. Travelers who make their first booking with Skyscanner show a 52% increased repeat booking rate versus the mobile average for partners, a higher conversion rate and a higher provider selection rate.”
Skyscanner said 100 million people use the service every month, of which 60% come direct, while 90% of its 100 million app installs are organic.
The firm said the move to a merchant mobile model removes the high cost of localised customer care for partners.
Skyscanner provided 24/7 customer service and says it takes full responsibility for ticketing issues and trialing extras such as a flight disruption service.
A self-serve cancellation functionality is planned in the future. Early customer satisfaction scores rate Skyscanner’s service as four out of five.
Partners to the new flight booking product include parent Chinese OTA Ctrip, JetMax and CheckMyFares, with three further more due to be added by the end of the year.
And the service, currently available in Australia, Singapore and to logged-in users in UK, will be launched in more markets in early 2020.