Skyscanner: Globalising a Business Model for a One-Stop Shop Travel Portal
The case is set in May 2015 in Singapore, the regional headquarters of the UK-based travel metasearch firm, Skyscanner. After a successful launch as a start-up followed by a period of rapid expansion, the company is now facing the challenge of growth in Asia.
In 2011, Skyscanner opened its regional headquarters for Asia in Singapore. The tech-savvy customers in Asia were gradually beginning to discover the Skyscanner service, but their behaviour in using the site was different from that of customers in Western markets. Many users were accessing the site through mobile devices and linking from social media sites, while Western market customers were traditionally searching from a computer using the Google search engine.
Skyscanner traditionally worked closely with partners such as airlines and online travel agents to provide information, advertising, and data services. To help attract partners, Skyscanner allowed the partner to “own” the customer, by passing the consumer through to the partner site to complete the transaction. The partners got paid for click-through traffic or from advertising on the Skyscanner website.
By May 2015, Skyscanner had created local websites for 14 countries in Asia Pacific, but the challenge was to scale up the business and get more customers using the site by meeting localised needs.
How should it further adapt its local offerings and marketing strategies more effectively to better connect to the in-country users in Asia? How should Skyscanner change its internal organisation to be more nimble to respond to the market?
This case targets participants who are interested in understanding the challenges associated with adapting an organisation and its business model for local market needs. The case is designed for use in postgraduate and executive education classes. It allows participants to better understand the Asian context and the challenges of growing a multi-national business in Asia.
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