Skyscanner is outing airlines and travel companies for failing to be omnipresent with consumers and calling on them to bolster their tech offerings and allow travellers to book trips on-hand.
In a recent report from the online travel retailer, ‘The Value-driven Proposition in Travel’, Skyscanner said travel companies need to stop focusing on desktop and mobile solutions as consumers continue to transition towards apps.
According to the report, travel companies face two key challenges: how to deliver personalised and highly relevant recommendations; and how to deliver personalized, relevant options with a branded, and mobile-friendly store-front.
“The future of retail in travel is not about limiting choice, rather making choices easier through effective merchandising, and understanding that consumers want practical solutions, not infinite results,” it said.
The report encourages consumers to instead “look beyond the travel sector” and learn how digital search and retail are evolving across the internet economy.
For example, if online travel retailers were to adopt a Netflix-style approach, where consumers’ online data could be mined, travel companies could better understand shopping behaviour.
Skyscanner Senior Commercial Manager Faical Allou said, “By delivering the right information at the right time, we can deliver greater value to our users and our partners.”
“The data has shown that users are willing to pay more to get more – even for something as simple as a better booking experience,” he added.
While Skyscanner offers a somewhat bleak analysis of the industry, the report points out that airlines and agents are sitting at the top of the “travel funnel” meaning they have a stronger control over the subsequent booking choices.
As well as this, the report said companies have established a monopoly over the market which extends into the online retail space.
“That flights are usually the first part of the search process means that airlines and travel agents are at the top of the travel funnel with potential to influence the rest of the booking flow,” it said.
“Even as airlines and travel agents adapted to an increasingly online consumer base, the methods to reach that base were still inflexible and binary.”
This positioning, while criticised by Skyscanner, should be taken advantage of by agents to more deeply connect with consumers.