Skyscanner’s GM for Greater China, Steven Pang, was formerly the co-founder and CEO of Youbibi, a metasearch engine that the Edinburgh, UK-based metasearch giant acquired two years ago.
Pang is now leading the expansion of Skyscanner — known as Tianxun regionally — in greater China.
Pang has brought together the most popular functionality of Skyscanner and Youbibi to Tianxun, adding tours and tickets for tourist attractions, airfares from offline agencies, and logins through QQ and Weibo.
Skyscanner and Tianxun have followed Youbibi's path in moving from a pure lead generation model to a model of facilitating transactions within their domains.
Pang spoke recently with Ritesh Gupta, a reporter for ChinaTravelNews.
One theme of their talk was how metasearch and online travel agencies are increasingly taking on each other's functionality.
One China-specific challenge for Skyscanner/Tianxun is how it can integrate with the Alibaba and Tencent ecosystems, which are so influential with Chinese mobile users.
The conversation also covered how metasearch wants to move further up the transaction funnel to more of the inspiration stage. For example, Skyscanner and Tianxun are adding "an inspiration timeline and push notifications of travel ideas".
He notes that his top priority is reducing five main friction points: real-time pricing/availability, booking, language, payment, and customer service.
Pang also discussed airline group IATA's New Distribution Capability (NDC) standards and how British Airways has worked with Skyscanner to distribute its content with the help of these standards, which enables enhanced product display.
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