Sprints, squads and small changes – how Skyscanner, Trivago view innovation

Sprints, squads and small changes - how Skyscanner, Trivago view innovation

Often it’s not only the Center Stage discussion that catches the attention of The Phocuswright Conference audience, but also the conversations happening on the sidelines.

The recent event in Fort Lauderdale was no exception with much informal talk about the lack of innovation in travel and how it seems mostly about incremental developments and evolution.

This is probably more true for metasearch than other segments of the industry. During the Innovation Dilemma session, the bosses of Skyscanner and Trivago shared not dissimilar approaches to innovation and why agile development, sprints and squads are important.

But it also depends on the definition of innovation, according to Skyscanner chief executive John Mangelaars, who stressed there is still a significant amount of work to do to improve the user experience and that those improvements are a big deal for consumers.

Meanwhile, Trivago’s chief Johannes Thomas would rather see rapid experimentation over shorter periods of time than waiting six months or a year for something that ends up not working.

“It’s as simple as you click the hotel name and instead of going to the hotel information, we send you to the rates where you improve the comparison rates, so small changes can make a big difference.”

The conversation also focused on artificial intelligence and the advent of generative AI. Thomas talked about the need for evolution in the search experience and the current search box but said he doesn’t believe a chatbot experience is the way forward because “travel needs inspiration, it needs a visual experience.”

Skyscanner, meanwhile, has been learning from its Dream and discover with AI ChatGPT tool, which although still relatively unknown is already improving conversion.

“People like to play with the toys so we see it very much as an engagement and a learning tool,” Mangelaars said. “We really have to figure out now what it is going to look like in the future. We’ve learned a ton about how people interact with the system.”

See below for the full discussion with PhocusWire senior reporter Linda Fox.

The Innovation Dilemma with Skyscanner and trivago – The Phocuswright Conference 2023

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