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Skyscanner Ltd.
Skyscanner Logo LockupHorizontal SkyBlue RGB.svg
Type of site
Metasearch engine
HeadquartersEdinburgh, Scotland, UK Group
Key peopleBryan Dove, CEO
Gareth Williams, Co-Founder and Chairperson
Revenue£261 million (2016)[1]
Alexa rankDecrease 9,419 (June 2020)[2]

Skyscanner is a metasearch engine and travel agency based in Edinburgh, Scotland[3] and owned by Group, the largest online travel agency in China. The site is available in over 30 languages and is used by 100 million people per month.[4][5] The company lets people research and book travel options for their trips, including flights, hotels and car hire.[4]

Compared to other travel metasearch engines, the website counts a greater share of millennials among its users.[6]


The company was formed in 2004[4] by three information technology professionals, Gareth Williams, Barry Smith, and Bonamy Grimes, after Gareth was frustrated by the difficulties of finding cheap flights to ski resorts.[7] Skyscanner was first developed and released in 2002. In 2003, the first employee was hired to assist with site development. The Edinburgh office was opened in 2004.[8]

In 2008, Skyscanner received first round funding of £2.5 million from venture capital firm Scottish Equity Partners (SEP).[9]

In 2009, the year after SEP invested in the business, Skyscanner reported its first profit.[10]

In 2011, Skyscanner acquired Zoombu.[11] Skyscanner opened an office in Singapore in September 2011, which is headquarters for its Asia-Pacific operations.[12] In 2012, a Beijing office was added, as Skyscanner began a partnership with Baidu, China's largest search engine.[13]

By 2013, the company employed over 180 people.[14] In February 2013, Skyscanner announced plans to open a United States base in Miami.[14] In October 2013, Sequoia Capital purchased an interest in Skyscanner that valued the company at $800 million.[15] In June 2014, Skyscanner acquired Youbibi, a travel search engine company based in Shenzhen, China.[16]

In October 2014, Skyscanner acquired the Budapest-based mobile app developer Distinction.[17]

By February 2015, the company employed 600 people, double the employment of 18 months earlier.[18]

In January 2016, the company raised $192 million based on a $1.6 billion valuation for the company.[19]

In November 2016, Group (formerly Ctrip), the largest travel firm in China, bought Skyscanner for $1.75 billion.[20]

Following the sale to Ctrip, Skyscanner’s largest shareholder, SEP, completed its exit from the business.[21]

In 2017, Ctrip bought the domain and launched The original platform was became a subsidiary of Skyscanner.[22]

In 2018, Skyscanner won the best travel app award by Tripzilla online travel magazine.[23]

In September 2019, Skyscanner unveiled a global re-brand.[24]


  1. ^
  2. ^ " Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic - Alexa". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  3. ^ "We're the travel company who puts you first".
  4. ^ a b c "About Skyscanner".
  5. ^ O'Hear, Steve (28 September 2012). "Skyscanner's Mobile Apps Hit 10M Downloads, Letting Users Find Cheap Flights On The Go". TechCrunch.
  6. ^ "2019 Trends in Global Millennial Travel: An Insight Into the Key Trends, Behaviours and Issues of Millennial Travellers -" (Press release). Business Wire. 12 April 2019.
  7. ^ Trapp, Roger (18 February 2006). "How to launch a great business". The Independent.
  8. ^ "In pictures: inside Skyscanner's head office". The Scotsman. 17 February 2015.
  9. ^ "Skyscanner Lands VC Funding to Build World's Leading Flight Search Engine". Skyscanner's Travel Blog. 20 January 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Travel firm secures major investment". BBC News. 12 January 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  11. ^ Butcher, Mike (17 January 2011). "Travel search engine Skyscanner acquires Zoombu". TechCrunch.
  12. ^ "Skyscanner to set up operation in Singapore". BBC News. 26 June 2011.
  13. ^ "Skyscanner lands China search engine deal". BBC News. 23 August 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Flight firm Skyscanner moves in to America". BBC News. 4 February 2012.
  15. ^ "Skyscanner valued at $800m by backer of Apple". The Evening Standard. 3 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Skyscanner buys Chinese metasearch firm Youbibi". BBC News. 25 June 2014.
  17. ^ O'Hear, Steve (22 October 2014). "Travel Search Company Skyscanner Acquires Budapest-Based Mobile App Developer Distinction". TechCrunch.
  18. ^ Russell, Jon (23 February 2015). "Skyscanner optimistic as revenue growth slows". Financial Times.
  19. ^ Shu, Catherine (12 January 2016). "Travel Search Site Skyscanner Raises $192M For International Expansion". TechCrunch.
  20. ^ Dickie, Mure (23 November 2016). "China's Ctrip is buying flight search company SkyScanner for $1.74 billion". TechCrunch.
  21. ^ "Scottish Equity Partners exits Skyscanner following £1.4 billion sale". Growth Business. 9 December 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  22. ^ Bort, Julie (1 November 2017). "Tiny startup has been acquired by Chinese travel giant Ctrip – a move that could shake up the travel industry". Business Insider.
  23. ^ "TripZilla Excellence Awards 2018". TripZilla.
  24. ^ Tan, Janice (24 September 2019). "Skyscanner takes off with global brand refresh, reflects 'optimism' and 'clarity'". Marketing Interactive.

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