Travel search giant Skyscanner has acquired Twizoo, a U.K.-based platform that identifies user-generated content on Twitter for companies to use as part of promotional campaigns on their websites.
The deal represents Skyscanner’s sixth known acquisition of all time, and its first since being acquired itself last year by Ctrip, one of China’s biggest online travel companies, for $ 1.7 billion.
Skyscanner was founded out of Scotland in 2003 and emerged as one of Europe’s biggest flight search engines by traffic, and one of the biggest globally. It has since expanded into related services such as hotels and car rentals.
Founded out of London in 2013, Twizoo had raised around $ 2 million in funding, and since its inception it’s been vying for a market dominated by online heavyweights such as Yelp, which has a reputation for not always hosting genuine reviews. Twizoo basically scrapes comments related to companies, such as hotels, from Twitter, and allows those companies to highlight those tweets on their own online properties.
On the surface, this system also seems ripe for abuse — what’s stopping a hotel setting up a bunch of fake Twitter accounts? But that’s where Twizoo’s underlying artificial intelligence (AI) smarts come into play. Twizoo automatically analyzes other things people tweet about to ensure that it’s a genuine social media account. Additionally, tweets from new Twitter accounts are not included, while several tweets arriving simultaneously about one specific business are also flagged as suspicious.
For Skyscanner, the acquisition makes a great deal of sense, as it will allow them to surface “legitimate” hotel reviews and recommendations for venues that sell through its own suite of apps.
“Skyscanner aims to serve all traveller needs, from inspiration through to planning and booking,” noted Skycanner CTO Bryan Dove. “Twizoo’s technology surfaces customer opinions from social media, providing real value to traveller decision making.”
Twizoo’s team of six, including founders Madeline Parra and John Talbott, have now joined Skyscanner’s recently-opened 24,000 square foot office in central London, which is home to around 120 employees. Globally, Skyscanner employes around 900 people, and it said that it’s currently looking to hire for “dozens” of new roles in nine offices around the world.