UK-based global travel search site Skyscanner has been gaining considerable market share over the last two years, now boasting 50 million unique monthly visitors. Now, travel startups are encouraged to leverage Skyscanner’s technology in a recent article by Sean O’Neill for Tnooz.
Apart from the company’s obvious public popularity, what really differentiates Skyscanner from other travel search sites is its open API that provides developers with free access to its data feeds. The API has been available for several years and put to use by Hitlist, Go Euro and Pintrips in slightly different implementations.
As word of the rare free offering spreads and new applications for the data are devised, more startups are capitalising on the opportunity. For example, the recently-launched Lucky Trip uses the data feed to provide travel options from the UK according to a pre-defined budget.
API keys are acquired through the Skyscanner for Business division, with separate APIs for hotels, car rentals and air content, providing a far more affordable and feature-rich option than those typically offered by global distribution systems (GDSs).
The benefit for Skyscanner is that, once a partner crosses a certain threshold, they are required to enter into a revenue-share deal that encourages re-investment of the revenue into the product to improve existing features or add new ones.
Skyscanner does operate a thorough vetting system before API keys are issued, ensuring a standard of quality across the 1,200 existing partner companies. But, the added turnaround time does seem worth it, as Skyscanner’s direct relationships with agents, resellers and suppliers around the globe provide unique access to localized content no matter where you are.