Travel Site Veteran Skyscanner Admits Indonesian Market is Indeed Interesting
Skyscanner is not a new player in the online travel business. Skyscanner, focusing on comparing prices between different airlines, was established in 2001 in Edinburgh, Scotland by Gareth Williams, Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes, and has been at the forefront in this business in Europe. Recently, Skyscanner has opened its second office in Singapore and in six months obtained 400% increase in traffic for Asia Pacific region, especially in Indonesia, although it did not specify the percentage of the traffic from Indonesia itself.
Surely, this fact is not so surprising. Availability of low cost airlines to various destinations and increasing level of prosperity have made this business booming. Skyscanner certainly does not want to just sit around in this race. It has set up Skyscanner.co.id that is entirely in Indonesian. It is safe to say that all domestic and International routes have been included in Skyscanner’s database and I do not find any difficulty to get prices of Garuda, Citilink or Sriwijaya on this site.
Skyscanner itself is already available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms. Based on its records, Skyscanner mobile applications have been downloaded 6 million times worldwide. Interestingly, it seems that Skyscanner is ready to “fight” in the Asia Pacific region. It’s already available in 29 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Tagalog, Malay and supports over 70 currencies. It’s not wrong for it to target its income nearing US$30 million this year or an increase of more than 50% than 2011.
Ewan Gray, Skyscanner Director for Asia Pacific says, Asians prefer to access Skyscanner from mobile sites and applications. This is in contrast to Europe where only 1 in 3 people access Skyscanner by mobile platform. That is why it also heavily campaigns its mobile products. It’s somewhat unfortunate that given the huge number of BlackBerry owners in Indonesia, Skyscanner chooses not to/not yet support it.
I tried this application on iOS and quite satisfied with the result. Both the search for domestic route (CGK-SUB) and International route (CGK-SIN) generated complete data even though it takes considerable time to display all the data. If we have chosen a flight route that fits our needs, we will be brought to Skytours site to complete the purchase. Unfortunately the process works the same way on the mobile app as it is not done within the app. Aside of that, I found no significant problem.
In addition to airline ticket purchasing, Skyscanner also provides away to search for accomodation and car rentals. Both are done in collaboration with third parties who are working in their respective fields. It certainly will turn out into an interesting battle. Both local based and foreign based sites would fight on “big cake” that is the travel budgets of Indonesian people.