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Skyscanner strategy, Pokemon madness, apps, maps, APIs, bus travel and healthcare feature among the most-read stories of the year

Last week we highlighted the top 5 stories in distribution from this past year. Now it’s time for a mixed bag of mobile & tech highlights and insights that came from interviews and research to fuel the EyeforTravel conference agenda. 

1. Skyscanner strategy and the shifting metasearch landscape

Well we all know now what happened to Skyscanner in 2016. The Edinburgh headquartered firm was snapped up by Ctrip, China’s biggest online travel company, in its bid to gain a stronger foothold in Europe. This article, published a few months earlier, features an exclusive interview with Shane Corstorphine, GM Americas, Skyscanner who drilled down into how the company’s meta strategy is about connecting the world through key partnerships. He also pointed to the growing trend towards voice search and virtual assistants. Interestingly this is a trend that is taking off in China where 20% of users booking via mobile have made at least one using voice search. No doubt something that the new Ctrip-Skyscanner alliance will be focusing on in 2017!

2. Pokemon Go and Google get South Korean mappers thinking

There is nothing quite like a gaming phenomenon dominating headlines to get the travel industry thinking of how capture customers. This article was about how a glitch in the gaming system had placed a little known Korean town Sokcho on the map because it has been classified as being in the US! When the game launched in mid-July, South Korea was excluded because of government restrictions that prevent it from accessing Google Maps data, which its location-based services require to work. Despite the boom to tourism in the town as a result of the mapping error (searches on hotels.com rose by 95%), at the end of 2016 South Korean fans are still waiting for the official launch of Pokemon Go!

3. Apps, maps and ten top API tips

APIs were big tech news in 2016 this article had some welcome and well-read tips. Among these to: be consistent with API-initiatives across the company; treat and manage them like products; encourage external developers to use your APIs to build new revenue streams; and consider factors such as overall architecture, scalability and integration.

4. 5 trends in bus travel: a €70bn global market that is speeding ahead

Bus distribution is a big and growing market as the headline of this April story highlights. This was recognised by crowning Distribusion winner of EyeforTravel’s annual Start-Up & Innovation Awards. Marc Hofmann, CEO and founder of Checkmybus, a metasearch that is working with Distribusion, highlights some of the trends playing out as this important mode of transport moves from offline to online not least changing business models and user behaviour, something we’ll be revisiting in the New Year.

5. Healthcare goes global and gives online medical tourism a boost

Venture fund group Accel Partners estimates that the marketing for online tourism could be worth $55 billion with six to 10 million people annually travelling to find medical services, writes Sally White. The big travellers right now are Americans with estimates that 1.2 million to 1.4 million people are heading overseas for surgery annually. As international consultants PwC puts it: globalisation has radically altered the business model for service and manufacturing industries!

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