Ask Krzysztof Winiarski, Front-End Team Leader for eSky about his company’s rapid global expansion, and you’ll hear quite a tale. Since its founding in 2004, eSky has established itself as one of the largest online travel agencies (OTAs) in Central and Eastern Europe, and leading seller of travel services in Poland. Today it’s also one of the largest travel agents in Central and South America under its eDestinos brand. However, it hasn’t been easy for eSky to arrive at that destination.
After its meteoric success in Europe, the company focused its expansion efforts in South America. eSky learned many lessons along the way.
As the company sought to enter the Brazilian market at the end of 2011, the company’s technology team explored opening a second data center in Brazil. They found this option appealing as it would put them close to Brazilian site visitors and data providers. However, early on, they saw the limitations of this approach.
As Krzysztof explains, “Managing infrastructure on another continent proved quite challenging for our IT operations team, and it distracted them from focusing on the customer experience. Moreover, no data center providers could satisfy our expectations for performance and availability.”
eSky makes it a priority to enable a world-class booking experience that reflects its customer service ethos. Evidence of this focus includes taking first place at the e.Comm Awards in Bulgaria for best site design and UX, best online application, and best e-commerce page and also gaining the Audience Award in the Mobile App category, as well as the Audience and Jury Awards in the category of e-commerce website of the ‘Page of the year’ competition.
Through eSky, travelers can buy tickets from 860 regular, low-cost and charter airlines; book accommodations in nearly 1.1 million hotels and apartments across the globe; and rent a car or buy travel insurance. Each year, eSky sites are visited by 180 million people and serve 5.5 million customers. The huge popularity of eSky’s service translated into revenues of PLN 135 million in 2017.
Along the way, eSky has differentiated itself by combining its own technological solutions with the ability to enter new markets efficiently. With a goal of freeing up its IT experts to optimize the customer experience while still ensuring fast delivery of its website content, eSky started looking for an alternative solution. The goal was finding a way to offload the IT group of the burden of managing content delivery without giving up the benefits associated with a local data center.
After evaluating top solutions, eSky selected Akamai Ion. “We chose Akamai for its reputation accelerating sites worldwide. We knew Akamai Ion could effectively deliver our site in South America, positioning us for additional expansion beyond Brazil,” says Krzysztof.
According to Krzysztof, if the company had opted to continue with a second data center in Brazil, it would likely have hurt its launch in South America. “The customer experience is everything to us and we trust Akamai to help us deliver the best one possible. Akamai enabled us to maintain a single data center in Poland but still accelerate delivery to other markets, including Peru and the United States,” Krzysztof continues.
As eSky continues entering new markets and offering more products, its profile and vulnerability to cybersecurity threats rises. Knowing the potential impact of a security breach, the company made it a priority to ensure the highest levels of online security. After conducting its due diligence and considering many options, the technology team selected Akamai Kona Site Defender (KSD). “We already trusted Akamai and were impressed with its security expertise and PCI-DSS compliance, so it made perfect sense to go with KSD,” explains Krzysztof.
In line with its ambitious growth plans, eSky plans to enter Asia and other parts of Europe, South America, and Latin America in the coming years. As a global, rapidly expanding OTA, the company chooses reliable, expert partners who deeply understand eSky’s business, goals and unique market requirements. “With the Akamai solutions in place, we are confident about continuing our global expansion without compromising on site performance or security,” Krzysztof concludes.
eSky Group is a travel agent operating online (OTA) with a use of advanced technology. The Group is the leader in Central Europe and the leading player on markets of South America. Its own search engine eSky Travel Search enables travelers to purchase tickets of 860 airlines – regularly scheduled, low-fare or charter ones, book accommodation in nearly 1,1 mln hotels and apartments around the world, rent a car, as well as purchase a travel insurance. eSky since a few years has been successfully conducting dynamic international expansion. First foreign services were created in Bulgaria and Romania, next ones – under the brand eDestinos, on South American markets. Currently eSky offers services on over 30 international markets and plans further growth. The eSky Group is constantly evolving its own technology enabling expansion on new markets and flexibility in implementing new products. eSky is consequently investing in mobile solutions. Its mobile application was downloaded by nearly 3,1 million users and received numerous prestigious awards, among others: Mobile Trends Awards M-commerce 2017, Dobry Wzór 2017 (Good Design 2017), Internet Effectiveness Awards 2018. In 2017 and 2018 eSky Group received awards: RE:PL Polish Rebranding 2016, ekomersy 2017 in the category international expansion, has been listed as ”Ones to Watch” - one of the best business ventures in Europe in Travel/Leisure category, participating in the European Business Awards competition and also was honored by the title Top Agent by Qatar Airways.