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Flight Geek of the Week-Barry Smith

Introducing the flight search geeks that make Skyscanner work

Introducing the flight search geeks that make Skyscanner work


1. What do you do at Skyscanner?
My title – this week – is Director of Market Development. This basically means that I am responsible for the geographic marketing growth of Skyscanner – predominantly, UK, Europe and the U.S.

2. What kind of flight geek you are?
User Acquisition Geek.

3. What best generally describes your travel style:
For business, destination is pretty much set in stone – as is time, as it’s predominantly event driven – so time of flight is important to me. To be honest, although I love leisure travelling, I am rarely involved in where or when I travel. My wife tells me where we’re going – and I just get given a date to turn up.

4. What’s your ideal holiday
Sun or snow – I love all forms of water sports and skiing. Beach and palm tree-shaped swimming pool are an obvious requirement, as the kids love the water. Mixture of active and complete chill-out days, followed by great food and very cold beer. I enjoy experiencing and embracing new cultures and foods, so somewhere with a British or Irish bar – and somewhere that plays “Only Fools and Horses” on a loop, where I can order a curry.

5. Who’s your ideal travel companion?
Dead: Stan Laurel – not in a strange way – just, if he was still alive. I understand the difficulties of travelling abroad with deceased comedy geniuses.

Alive: If “My Wife and Kids” is a given, then my 2nd choice would be Denise Richards and/or Megan Fox – for their keen intellect and insightful views on the current economic crisis. I would perhaps suggest that we use Air New Zealand’s new Skycouch, in order to save money, rather than buying 3 separate seats in Business Class.

6. Do you fly with children?
I have tried leaving them at the airport, but both my kids always insist on coming with us.

7. How do you decide where you want to go?
My wife tells me.

8. How do you decide when you want to go?
See #7.

9. What annoys you most about planning holidays?
The lack of involvement I seem to have in holiday planning.

10. What are you doing in your job at Skyscanner to sort that?
I am trying to ensure that we are the most well-known flight site in Europe. This means becoming #1 in each and every European country. Basically, spreading global Skyscanner Love.

11. What’s your favourite thing about the Skyscanner site?
The fact you can search for flights without even knowing where or when you want to go, was and is still, industry defining, and one of our better USPs. I am also proud that we have 20 language versions of the site. The internet still blows my mind. We had users on the site from over 200 countries last month. Craziness.

12. What’s your dream feature?
Some sort of sport related travel feature, to help users fly to matches, events, tournaments… this space.

13. Favourite websites apart from Skyscanner (not necessarily travel) and why?
BBC Sports news site – comprehensive on all things sport – results, fixtures, news – everything that I need, in one package. – for obvious reasons
YouTube – I travel a fair amount, and if you can stand watching films in 10 minute chunks, you can normally find some pretty good full movies or comedy shows.

14. What’s the geekiest thing about you? Your secret geek shame?
I love SEO. The fact that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft keep changing the goalposts of how sites are ranked in importance for users searching, keeps the game fresh. I am also keen on working out why I am on Twitter. I can be found at @MelwoodBaz – mostly I use it to get a snapshot of important breaking news throughout the day. The key is to follow the right people, in the right sector, who are insightful and engaging. I don’t want to know that you’ve just had a double-shot mocha, or that your cat has been sick.

15. Worst travel experience (keep it brief!)

I once had to travel economy class.

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