Skyscanner is already a well-established brand offering price comparison services. Its new ‘Road Trip Planner’ taps into consumer demand for domestic trips and offers an opportunity to drive further revenues outside of its existing offering.

The ‘Road Trip Planner’ by Skyscanner has been formed in partnership with Inspirock, an AI powered personalised itinerary platform. The planner offers personalised trip itineraries based on unique interests, the desired destination, trip duration and time of year, alongside other factors. The new planner is currently live and available on the Skyscanner platform in the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland.

Skyscanner’s offering in the past has mostly been focused on the international travel market as a price comparison website. Launching this new product branches out its product offering, likely to rival competitors and strengthen its competitive stance within the travel marketplace.

Various factors point to potential success

GlobalData’s poll* found that demand is highest for domestic trips (43%) in 2021 in comparison to international travel within the same (29%) or a different continent (37%). Global domestic travel is forecast to recover (2022) before international (2024) likely due to travel restrictions such as quarantine and prolonged border closures. Therefore, many rival travel intermediaries have increased domestic trip offerings including Intrepid Travel and Expedia Group, and Skyscanner seems to have followed this trend in line with consumer demand.

The nature of Skyscanner’s platform plans to identify potential road trips accessible through driving and car hire rather than air travel. Paul Cumins, head of car hire at Skyscanner, identified air travel is beginning to pick up momentum but travelers are currently opting for driving holidays rediscovering places closer to home. Self-driving offering a perceivably safer travel option by only traveling with known travellers reducing the risk. In the UK market, this is signposted by the popularity of staycations to coastal and rural areas such as Devon, Cornwall and Cumbria whilst city breaks to London and other cities are less popular.

The desire for a more personalised service remains high as GlobalData’s Q12021 consumer survey found that 82% of global respondents were ‘always’, ‘somewhat’ and ‘often’ influenced by this**. Any innovations that deliver personalisation are deemed priceless across the travel sector and AI is a critical theme that can help companies achieve more targeted goals. Skyscanner’s partnership with Inspirock, boost its chances of giving customers that ‘ultimate’ personalised experience and could drive further revenue gains.

Competition to intensify amongst other OTAs

In 2019, GlobalData’s survey*** found that price comparison websites such as Skyscanner were the third most popular booking platform amongst global respondents (32%). Sites of this sort are usually popular as they offer customers a quick, efficient way to compare prices in real time to discover the best deal. Online travel agents (OTAs) however were the most typically used service (44%)***. This is likely linked to consumer desires for an online service and personalised offering.

Skyscanner’s new product offering marks a shift for the intermediary that may again intensify competition with other leadings OTAs such as Expedia Group and Booking Holdings in travel’s recovery.

*GlobalData’s poll, live since 17 Nov 2020 – 1,442 respondents

** GlobalData’s Q12021 consumer survey – 21, 768 respondents

***GlobalData’s Q32019 consumer survey – 29,744 respondents

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