The first thing Gareth Williams, CEO & co-founder of Skyscanner, says to me with a grin when I caught up with him yesterday evening was, 'I deny all rumours that I was offered the Uber job.'
Wishing Dara Khosrowshahi well (the Expedia Inc CEO has indicated he will accept the job as Uber CEO), Williams said, “It’s interesting, these horizontals which are getting into travel. Their job is to serve the full extent of what people want to use them for – and they have advantages, captive audiences.
“We approach that by being better – more focused. And we have our B2B offering that allows us to integrate our services into platforms like Alexa, or we power horizontal search engines like Yahoo Japan, for example.”
It’s nice to see that the new billion dollar man in travel, who built Skyscanner with two friends into a Scottish unicorn and a global business bought by Ctrip for US$1.7b in November 2016, hasn’t changed much. The humour is still there as is the humility – “I am not a chief executive by nature,” he said.
“The consumer in Asia is the leading indicator of how people book travel – in terms of app usage, frictionless payments and expectations around customer support”
How the relationship with Ctrip started
Other than taking a few more holidays – he’s just been diving in North Sulawesi and plans to take a one-month break next year – Williams is still very much the leader of the travel search business that’s now out to grow even faster in Asia, particularly outside China.
Williams has always been an advocate of Asia. He recalled attending his first WIT conference in Singapore in 2006 when Skyscanner was still trying to figure out its destiny. And since then, the company has pursued a solid, consistent growth strategy in Asia.
Read the full article here.