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30 Nov 2016

BY Matthew Parsons

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Why Ctrip's purchase of Skyscanner means 'good things for the metasearch industry'

Following the news that Skyscanner, the Scotland-based flight price comparison website, is to be bought by Ctrip, Hugo Burge has said he believes this "can only mean good things for the metasearch industry".

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Interesting times for metasearch: Ctrip's $1.4bn Skyscanner deal & Ryanair war, but momondo boss is upbeat

Exactly one year on since the rebrand of Cheapflights, the chief executive of the Momondo Group said: "First of all, congratulations to Gareth and the whole Skyscanner team on this news – it can only mean good things for the metasearch industry and is perhaps the beginning of a new global opportunity for those of us in it. They’ve worked hard and created a business of which Scotland and the U.K. can be very proud.


“This deal is further validation of our belief that metasearch is very attractive sweetspot in travel, based on building a trusted product for users.

 

"Although we’re focused on our own growth as now the world’s only independent metasearch, we’ll be following further developments with interest – especially with regards to how they build out on their recent forays in to chat-based services and AI, a key differentiator in the Asian market.”

 

The takeover is perhaps welcome news for the metasearch sector, which has come under attack by Ryanair. Last week, Ryanair revoked a licence agreement with momondo, claiming momondo was “in breach of contract” – a statement momondo said it could not confirm.

 

Pia Vemmelund, managing director of momondo, said: “Our primary purpose has always been to show the lowest available price to provide our users with transparency and we won’t compromise on that by taking out specific travel agencies from our search results just because an airline like Ryanair tells us to."

 

Skyscanner, meanwhile, has around 60 million monthly active users and Gareth Williams, chief executive of Skyscanner, said: “Ctrip is the clear market leader in China and a company we can learn a huge amount from.”

 

Perhaps the Ctrip acquisition is the sort of deal that will make Ryanair sit up and take the metasearch sector more seriously?

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