Oli Mival, Director of User Research at Skyscanner, explains how the brand used user insight and testing to stay ahead of quickly shifting trends in travel.

For travel companies and those in the hospitality industry, one of the biggest obstacles to navigating the coronavirus pandemic has been a lack of certainty.

With travel restrictions constantly shifting and changing, consumers – even those who want to travel – have been wary of committing to booking a trip, unsure about how to navigate the hurdles posed by quarantine and testing requirements, or unwilling to take the risk of venturing onto a plane or into a hotel. Meanwhile, businesses have found the uncertainty challenging to prepare for – and have difficulties reassuring consumers when they themselves have no idea what’s ahead.

Travel comparison website and agency Skyscanner has found a way to combat this. For the past three or four years, the company has conducted frequent customer research and user testing in order to get a sense of what its customers are feeling, and how they are using its products. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this point of contact with the public has become invaluable, and has enabled Skyscanner to stay abreast of an evolving situation globally while taking steps to reassure consumers about the safety of travel.

I spoke to Oli Mival, Director of User Research at Skyscanner, about what kinds of insights Skyscanner has gleaned from its customer base, how it has evolved its product to help consumers navigate travel during the pandemic, and why “understanding people first” is invaluable for Skyscanner.

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