company news From 1 to 600 employees: how has Skyscanner changed?

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From 1 to 600 employees: how has Skyscanner changed?

From the first Skyscanner employee to some of our newest staff, we get the inside scoop on how Skyscanner has changed.

Earlier this month we released our financial results, and we’re delighted to announce that we’re now home to over 600 members of staff over nine global offices. To celebrate reaching this landmark figure, we asked five employees who joined the company at different moments to share their thoughts on how the business has changed, their highlights on the journey and more.

Martin Burge, Senior Sales Manager for Hotels, joined Skyscanner in February 2004. He was Skyscanner’s first hire.

As Skyscanner’s first official employee, when exactly did you join the company and what attracted you to Skyscanner?

It was back in February 2004. I was on the job hunt when I saw a two line advert in the paper looking for an ‘entrepreneurially minded programmer required to develop idea’. On investigating the URL provided in the ad, I quickly fell in love with the concept and got in touch with co-founder Bonamy who then arranged the interview with fellow co-founder and CEO Gareth. For the first year I worked out of Gareth’s dining room and then from my flat.

How has Skyscanner and your role changed since you joined? Has the Skyscanner mind-set changed?

I initially worked in Data Acquisition and was tasked with expanding the four budget airlines that were present at the time. A few years later, I moved over to the commercial side of the business where I looked after the affiliate networks and relationships with online travel agents – ensuring we had commercial deals in place where we could and that we built strong partnerships with key content providers to the site. As the commercial team grew and these relationships have moved to a more geographic split, I took on the Car Hire commercial build. Now, I work on our Hotels product.

As for how Skyscanner has changed, the early days of high energy, fast development and idea-to-screen pace gave way to global expansion: we are now in a driven, highly structured environment. Despite this, the mind-set has remained mostly the same: help our users travel smarter.

What were some of the highlights for you?

One recent highlight for me was the launch of our Hotels app. I just love it. Seeing this come to market, looking and working the way it does, and the addition of the massively talented team that built it (former agency Distinction) to the Skyscanner family, has been a real highlight.

Bjorn Stevenson, Principal Engineer in the Database Development team, joined Skyscanner in June 2008.

Bjorn, what attracted you to Skyscanner?

Before I joined Skyscanner, I was a contractor at a large banking group, and spied a newspaper advert for the role on the train. So I thought I’d give it a try – after all it more than halved my commute! At the time, Skyscanner was a small business, with a huge growth potential, so I viewed it as a real opportunity to develop my career.

How has Skyscanner and your role changed since you joined over six years ago? Has the Skyscanner mind-set changed?

There were about 30 people when I joined Skyscanner, it was a small start-up business. Now we have over 600 staff, across nine offices around the world, so processes have had to change. I’ve gained a lot of domain knowledge about the flights business in general and Skyscanner in particular. When I joined, I did almost pure development, but now I take a more strategic view, doing more up front design and helping others understand what we have in place before they change things.

How does the company ethos compare to other places you’ve worked?

Skyscanner is more innovative, dynamic, collaborative, and challenging. We’re constantly asking what we can do to attract users to our site, how can we help them find good prices, and then the engineering solutions to achieve that. Our people come from a more diverse range of backgrounds than in most businesses, which helps bring different perspectives to our work.

Ryan Howieson, IT Services Engineer, joined Skyscanner on January 2012. He’s Skyscanner’s 100th employee.

How has Skyscanner and your role changed since you joined? Has the Skyscanner mind-set changed?

Skyscanner has considerably changed over the years I have been here and has done so at a very fast pace, including my career in Skyscanner. My role has gone from Apprentice to Supporting Engineer to Engineer. Each stage has grown with more responsibility and changed to match the company’s needs. As we’ve grown, the mind-set has changed a little as we’re no longer a small business – regardless, there’s still an emphasis on maintaining a good life and work style, which I love.

What’s your favourite feature in our offices?

My favourite part of the office has to be the arcade machine.

Mairi Fernandez is based in Skyscanner’s Singapore Office. She joined the company in November 2013 and is Talent Acquisition Manager for the Asia Pacific Region.

What attracted you to Skyscanner?

I am fascinated by Employer Brand and so I researched Skyscanner heavily before joining. I loved the integrity, ambition and culture and I believed that I could make a positive difference. I knew there would be a huge opportunity to learn and develop myself and contribute to the success of something special. Skyscanner was one of the companies that I wanted to work for when I was based in the UK, and so to move to Singapore and have the opportunity to join out here is a total career gift.

How has Skyscanner changed since you joined a little over a year ago?

Massively; but that’s why I joined! I started in the Singapore office when we had little over 30 employees and that’s grown to over 70. We’ve hired some awesome people who are capable of managing constant change and we naturally support each other through that change. We live in a world of evolving ideas and innovations and with that, I think there has been very little that has stood still in Skyscanner over the last year.

What’s your favourite feature in our offices?

I actually have two favourites and they are both in the Singapore office. The first is the Singapore secret room… You can’t book it, nobody knows about it and what happens in the secret room stays in the secret room! It’s where I go to unclutter my head and map out my to-do list. The second is the lift lobby on Floor 8. Because we have the whole floor, we have been able to extend our branded flooring throughout. I love it when the lift opens and people from the other office floors literally walk out to check it out. We are about to take over the other half of Floor 9 also and it would be awesome to have the same.

Sanja Vukik is based in Skyscanner’s Miami office. She joined Skyscanner in April 2014 and is a Sales Manager for Hotels in the Americas region.

What attracted you to Skyscanner?

Even before I joined Skyscanner, I was a loyal user of the site. I was very excited when Skyscanner launched hotels and even more thrilled when the position of Sales Manager came available in Miami.

How does the company ethos compare to other places you’ve worked?

The company ethos of Skyscanner cannot even compare to other companies I worked for prior to here. Appreciating employees and working with us to foster success, both personally and within the business, is the thing I value most at Skyscanner.

Has Skyscanner changed since you joined 9 months ago?

Definitely. Being flexible and open to changes is crucial, in today’s fast-paced and highly competitive marketplace, to our success.