Travel metasearch giant Skyscanner has acquired Twizoo, a small London-based startup which makes a platform for brands to automate injecting relevant social content across their digital footprint.
Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.
According to CrunchBase Twizoo was founded in May 2013 by CEO Madeline Parra and CTO John Talbott, and has raised ~£1.65M in funding. Investors include EC1 Capital, Downing Ventures and Jensons EIS Fund.
User generated content automatically surfaced by Twizoo’s AI tech largely appears to be enthusiastic tweets and/or picturesque Instagram snaps.
In a statement on the acquisition, Skyscanner’s CTO Bryan Dove said the company’s aim is to “serve all traveller needs, from inspiration through to planning and booking”.
Skyscanner’s core online comparison platform covers flights, hotels and car rental.
“Twizoo’s technology surfaces customer opinions from social media, providing real value to traveller decision making. We’re delighted to have the highly talented Twizoo team join us,” he added.
In a press release announcing the news Parra said Twizoo’s team would be working with Skyscanner to integrate its technology into their travel search products — with the aim of giving travellers added insight “through user generated content shared on social media”. To that end Twizoo’s team is now based in Skyscanner’s London office.
Albeit, it bills its platform as surfacing only “the most engaging, high-converting social media content” — so the user generated content it pulls in clearly skews positive, rather than showing travelers any UGC that might risk putting a dampener on bookings.
And recent press coverage of criticism of travel review platform TripAdvisor for deleting forum posts detailing allegations of rapes at tourist resorts does underline some of the potential risks of travel companies seeking to do too much filtering around the places, companies and experiences they are recommending. (TripAdvisor has since reversed course — and said it will display icons next to hotels where sexual assault has occurred.)
Skyscanner, which employs more than 900 people globally, was itself acquired a year ago by Chinese online travel giant Ctrip — which paid £1.4 billion for the company.
Earlier this month Ctrip acquired travel discovery and “personalized recommendations” app Trip.com — with the intention of having that content also flow into Skyscanner.