Skyscanner is flying high—but believes it can fly even higher. Skyscanner has a highly successful travel search product and loyal global customer base, in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. According to Mark Shilton, Principal Analyst at Skyscanner, “We were quickly outgrowing our old data models, so we set about changing that.”
The outcome was the development of Squads and Tribes: groups of individuals coming together from cross-functional teams like marketing, commercial, product engineering, and other Skyscanner departments to innovate new ideas that help grow the business.
For these Tribes to thrive, Skyscanner needed to become a more data-driven organization, with results calculated using business-relevant metrics. Until recently, however, the organization relied on a dedicated business intelligence (BI) department, tasked to deliver the analytics needed for decision-making. The BI team would source data from the company’s SQL Server data warehouse, and ultimately delivered the data to teams using Excel spreadsheets.
As the business grew, Tribes had overwhelming volumes of data, ranging from web traffic to flight schedules and marketing campaign data—all buried in tens of thousands of spreadsheet rows. As a result, Tribes often overlooked important details. And the inflexible nature of spreadsheets meant that they couldn’t efficiently test hypotheses or react to new market opportunities.
This issue was prevalent in marketing campaign management. Each campaign came with a new spreadsheet. People would manually pull data, ‘copying and pasting’ the data that was relevant to them, leading to inaccurate reporting.
Skyscanner’s leadership also identified an opportunity to offer insights from the data they collect to business-to-business (B2B) partners, like airports, hotels, and car hire companies through the Skyscanner for Business Insights service. Partners use the data to gain insight into customers’ travel habits and plan for demand. For example, a hotel chain might mine the data to discover how many customers are browsing flights to Rome or Athens, increasing room capacity in these destinations with demand. Providing interactive dashboards via Tableau Server allows partners to dive deeper into the data.