Pioneering a new way to search for travel, Skyscanner has launched a brand new way of finding flights via Facebook.
Dubbed ‘Skyscanner for Facebook’ the new tool allows Facebook members to post a flight request on Skyscanner’s Wall and receive a price quote and flight details back in seconds. There is no need to navigate away from the Facebook site or install any apps; users simply have to ‘like’ the Skyscanner page to use the tool. As well as a quote, the post also includes a link to the flight details on the main Skyscanner site, from where flights can be booked or options filtered.
The innovation comes from technology that allows customers to use “free text” when posting flight requests, rather than having to select a pre-set dates or destinations. For example, a customer can post “London to Edinburgh in 29 June” to get a quote for the cheapest price for that route on that day, and a link to the Skyscanner site where results can be filtered by airline or time if desired.
The tool is so versatile that users don’t even have to enter specific dates at all. Those flexible on when they travel can get a quote for the cheapest flight across an entire month by posting a query such as: “Manchester to Malaga in August”.
The new tool is an evolution of Skyscanner’s ‘FlyScan’ Twitter search facility which was developed earlier this year during a 24 hour ‘hackathon’,
Bonamy Grimes, Chief Analytical Officer explains:
“The hackathon was very successful in developing the code that could be used to facilitate this type of free text search but we were constrained by the response limits set by Twitter. Once this became apparent we made the decision to migrate the tool to Facebook instead.
“Facebook is the ideal platform for our flight search tool; earlier this year a poll we ran revealed that over 50% of our users have been inspired to book travel after seeing their friends’ pictures on Facebook, highlighting the importance of social media for the travel industry.
“Travel companies are starting to realise that there is more to Facebook than collecting fans, and we’re proud to have developed a pioneering tool for users and are excited to see the response this gets.”
The Facebook search tool is the latest in a range of search tools offered by Skyscanner. Earlier this year the flight comparison site launched an iPhone app, with a new improved version available on 25 June while an android app is currently in development.