From starting up to supporting start-ups with Microsoft

The Microsoft and Skyscanner relationship is one that goes back to the birth of Skyscanner. In fact, Skyscanner started life as an Excel spreadsheet that was designed to collect and compare commercial flight data worldwide.

Since its humble beginnings, Skyscanner has achieved exponential growth – aggregating over 40,000,000 app downloads and 50,000,000 monthly unique visitors. Additionally, through Skyscanner for Business, Skyscanner now powers over 600 global partners. Included in this list is Microsoft, for which Skyscanner now powers MSN flight search and Microsoft Travel’s car rental search.

Although Skyscanner has been able to succeed within the travel industry, Skyscanner for Business Director Filip Filipov has previously commented on the issues facing start-ups in travel technology: 

"While tech progress has been outstanding in the last decade, there are still a number of industries that haven’t reached even a fraction of their potential due to the lack of available information or restricted access. Without being able to list all of them, some spring immediately to mind: travel, utilities, music, and health care - to name a few.  Simply put, a developer with an outstanding idea for a product or feature in one of these areas is often not able to execute on it, because they don’t have the resources to access the vital information they need to make their product work."

Similarly, Skyscanner CEO Gareth Williams has a favourite quote, 'travel is the field of broken entrepreneurial dreams.' Gareth believes that this is a consequence of the lack of accessible data, along with the cost or restrictions placed on the data when it is available. 

In order to support the travel industry and further drive innovation, Skyscanner for Business has taken an open access stance - making data available at least to the point where a start-up is able to get going, learn, iterate and eventually build something that will make it sustainable. It is for this reason, that all businesses can get started with our Travel APIs and White Label by simply signing up.

A desire to support entrepreneurship is a common thread that has strengthened the relationship between Microsoft and Skyscanner. It was also the driver behind The Office Traveller Hackathon

The Office Traveller Hackathon was designed to give both Microsoft and Skyscanner an opportunity to work alongside developers within the travel industry and show them what can be achieved using technologies such as Office Add-ins and the Skyscanner Travel APIs.

With on-site support and a mountain of coffee, we were certain that both attendees and us as organisers would have a worthwhile experience - and we were right. The event enabled a number of projects to progress, including work on a risk management tool by Two10degrees and the newly launched Firef.ly app, which acts as a planner, guide and journal. Additionally, the collaboration between Skyscanner and Microsoft facilitated the creation of the newly released Travel Insight add-on for Excel, which will help the travel industry to make better decisions within the most convenient context!

The Office Traveller Hackathon was a fantastic opportunity for both established businesses and start-ups, and a great case example of how quickly value can be created within the travel industry when businesses work together. 

Skyscanner Developer Advocate and attendee, David Low commented: 

"The Office Traveller Hackathon gave us an opportunity to open up more than just our data resources and support the developers and entrepreneurs that are working with both Microsoft and Skyscanner technologies to disrupt the travel industry. We hope that there will be more chances to work alongside and assist such pioneering individuals in the future." 

Miss out on The Office Traveller Hackathon? Don't worry - you can start building with Skyscanner by requesting access today!