Skyscanner steps up marketing to become ‘number 1’ travel search site

Travel search website Skyscanner is readying its biggest ever marketing investment, which includes its first TV campaign and bolstering its marketing team with three senior hires, as it steps up its bid to become the leading brand in the category.

Video: Skyscanner’s first TV ad

The £3m “Born Honest” integrated campaign airs on TV today (29 January) and will run until late March. The activity, created by Holler and Leo Burnett, will feature across TV, outdoor and digital, with media planning and buying handled by Starcom MediaVest.

The TV ad in particular looks to target young urban professionals and empty nesters and aims to recreate “unhindered and limitless wonder” through which children perceive the world and to highlight the way Skyscanner operates “honestly and without bias” because the site does not sell tickets itself.

Andrew Cocker, Skyscanner chief marketing officer, told Marketing Week it is hoped the campaign – which marks the first time the company has placed media spend outside SEO and digital media – will help grow the brand’s spontaneous awareness levels.

He added: “Once people use us they do come back and we have one of the highest rates of repeat visit rates in the industry but we have very low spontaneous awareness and there’s only one place for that to go: it’s time to start building the brand as well as building on our ROI.”

Skyscanner’s efforts to build its awareness levels this year will be strengthened by the appointment of three senior marketing hires in newly created roles to its now 70-strong global marketing team.

Kristian Welch joins as country marketing director from Avis Budget Group, where he was head of conversion for EMEA; former vice president of propositions at Cable & Wireless Aktar Somalya takes the role of product marketing director; and FutureBrand’s strategy director Nader Khosrovani joins as head of brand. All three new hires will report directly to Cocker.

The additional marketing investment has been made possible following four successive years of “triple digit” growth for the company and a strong cash flow, Cocker says.

Skyscanner received a major cash injection after Silicon Valley venture capital group Sequioa Capital took a stake in the business last year, valuing the company at £493m.

Its competitors include Cheapflights, Kayak, Expedia, Flight Centre, Travelocity and Google which recently signed up Ryanair to make its flights available on the search giant’s Flights Search tool.

Read Marketing Week’s Q&A with Skyscanner CMO Andrew Cocker from last Spring here

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