Skyscanner began life in Edinburgh in 2001 as an idea on an Excel spreadsheet.
The plan was to create a site that compares flight prices for every single commercial airline in the world.
Despite reaching the goal, now serving 35 million customers every month, its CEO Gareth Williams in 2013 decided he wanted more customers.
Americans spend an average of $137 billion on international travel and make 154,021,000 trips by air every year, so expanding to the US was the obvious choice.
And in 2013, Skyscanner opened its Miami office. Its US location is now helping it keep competition like Kayak at bay.
But despite posing the opportunity to take businesses to the next level, striking gold in the US isn’t black and white. These are the 2 things European businesses should consider when making the jump across the pond.
“First of all, it’s a vast country,” explains Skyscanner Chairman Margaret Rice-Jones.
Arguably the most culturally diverse in the world, tapping into the 320 million US population requires a more localized approach.
Really getting under the skin of the differing cultural nuances is key for European businesses to be successful when expanding to the US.
“For a European based business the states looks really attractive. And they make the mistake of thinking that it’s one simple market just because everyone speaks the same language”
The second issue to consider when expanding to the US is that “as you move state by state, state, taxes are different, state laws are different, so if you have a consumer business then actually there is quite a lot of complexity”
With 50 different states, a lot can change. And ensuring you study up could save a lot of future problems.
As Rice-Jones explains “The degree of scrutiny that exists from all of the agencies exists as such that you have to be absolutely clear on all your record keeping.”