Archive for November, 2006

Tour Management Software for Travel Agents

Came across tour management software by a new zealand based company called cadabra. Cadabra lets travel agents/tour operators integrate complex tour planning engine to their website for customers. According to their site. Product enables you to engage directly with consumers by providing them with web-based tools to interactively build complex personalised touring itineraries. These tools, both functionality and content, provide the complete environment for the tourist enabling them to research, then plan then book their tour.

Cadabra’s vacation wizard dynamically builds a selection of itineraries based on the criteria people select for their tour, for example, the length of their trip, the grade of hotel, places they know they want to visit, and the experience and activities that they are interested in, such as natural wonders, cultural experiences, physical outdoor activities, wildlife activities, food and wine, high adventure activities, etc. This can be combined with agents own travel destination knowledge for offering personalized dynamic tour. The model clearly works on inbound travel agents own database. Secondly the whole concept it to let operator reach directly to retail customers who are currently using travel portals online which limit their offerings to air,hotel,transfer. But dont provide the mix like reach Mumbai and get half day trip to Elephanta caves or goto races at Mahalaxmi race course. currently they are targeting local inbound operators based in new zealand and later plan to launch their product in US in 2007.

Wishing them luck and hopefully we will see something comming in indian market very soon for large amount of inbound travel operators.

Travel Portals and Location Based Services

With Mobile Phones being pegged as the biggest market access tool over the Computers in India. come 2007 we will see lot of travel portals lauching mobile applications.  Though its very good and useful for business users. But for users who dont wish to type lot of details they phone should provide enough information to travel application for straight away start pushing deals/information to users. This is possible by taking location as a constraint. Dr Torab Torabi at Latrobe University under whom supervised me on my research in location based services always said application development should be information independent and we should work towards making a framework.

Getting back to how would location enabled travel application work on mobile phone . For travellers comming into Delhi for Commonwealth Games 2010 lot of them will be making unplanned visits with basic information on where games are being held etc. Here the travel application can help them interact with local enviornment and help them ditch the lonely planet book they carry.

# Based on user present location advice him of hotels around them and check room availability and prices. Advice game venues proximity. Example few events being hosted by delhi university so living in east delhi will not help. Advice on nearest ATM’s etc.

# Provide multilingual user experience.

# Integrate with Mobile Payment options so users dont carry cash and cards. Can access/buy metro rail tickets using phone etc.

#Enable collabration with facility to discover other travellers looking for company in vincity.

They are couple of ideas which can be made workable. The day has to come when tourist in chandni chowk will be travelling on rickshaws with not lonely planet guide in hand but mobile phone giving information on demand with location as constraint.

Travel 2.0 is what we seeing in india ?

Every second indian technology or business blog is talking about travel being the next 2.0 frontier in india. My first question was how many 2.0 applications are already in use by masses in india ? Whatever portal relaunched are happening are 1.0 models using AJAX,XML for giving rich user interface and improving speed and efficency for making sites available on low speed connections.

All portals we see are screaming and saying what travel portals use to do in US in 1999. Cheap Cheaper Cheapest…. price the biggest thing to pull customers. In india none of the portals are working on niche sectors. Example Golf Tourisim or Adventure Tourism. Idea is to create verticals and derieve revenue from them by caterning to niche high spend segment.

Use of RSS for syndicating fares is another thing which portals should look at. This way they will have further reach/distribution of deals and information. As more of these travel portals are doing is trying to compete with offline travel agents with high cost call centre’s focusing on travel plans they are moving away from travel search engines concept which is the thing to remain focus in. In india example or are asking transaction fees above the low-cost airlines published fare but to compete with airline websites directly they need to come on the same level playing field. I recently went to a travel agent who informed he is payed 3%-4% by these low cost airlines for making reservations directly with them. But being internet savvy he says have made life easy for him . He just goes to these sites first and see which airlines offer the cheapest airefare and then by logging in as a travel agent with respective airlines make the reservation. So are they just another travel shopping comparision site or they suppose to compete with these airline websites.

Secondly customers are becoming aware of reserving tickets directly on airline sites. lets say flying with jet airways if they make direct reservation on jet airways site they can get bonus frequent flyers miles etc. Which these travel portals cant do.

If cost is the big focus for travel portals then work on lowest airfare guarantee or lock cheap airfare concept. Otherwise looking at all 3-5 travel portals launched in market their is no difference from customer perspective.

WAYN Gets $11 Million Funding

WAYN a travel social networking site based in UK got funded for $11 Million Dollar. More news on (link)

What i was thinking if social networking sites talk about interopability why cant they try to integrate trip planning services of new travel portals enabling them to double up as travel requirement or planning service provider. Example Communities on a particular city can take advantage of information on where member is existingly and would show fares/deals to fly to destination or alternatively if someone is fan of “Cold Play” and item is added that they are playing in Austria. Based on dynamic information of users existing location show fares for travel to concert etc. As content is being generated by users lot of potential exist for meta tagging it and analyzing it for presenting travel options.

Farecast – Travel 2.0 Redefined

Farecast can be termed as the real web 2.0 application working on data mining and intelligence basics. It analyzes various fares being published by airlines between destinations. Helping customers understand changing fare pattern and help them predict fare. It also has a fare lock feature. Before i explain that and important annoucement

If you belong to a travel portal and reading this blog. Please try to make fare lock as the next functionality available for customers. What farecast is doing by making fare lock feature available to customers by recieving fixed monthly subscription charge from customers giving them facility to lock fares and book cheap airline ticket at a latter date.

This can surely work for people who know they will be travelling but still 20-30% unsure. They can just lock the fare without paying the whole ticket price and going through cancellation policy if it does not work out for them. Example in indian scenario could be INR 999 per month for fare lock facility on non-frill airlines. Only small amount of seats are made available on each route to the site under this scheme but can still ensure more sales.

Some tips for people looking for cheap domestic air tickets

# Never fly on weekend flights as they are most expensive.

# Afternoon flights are the cheapest in day

# Traditional carriers like Jet Airways,Air Sahara Airlines are more cheaper to fly between metro routes(except Delhi-Mumbai) at night times where they dont need to serve you a meal.

#Air-India late nite flight from delhi-mumbai is always cheapest flight i found on metro route.

Hope this helps. Also some kind of data intelligence/fare prediction comes into indian travel market. company based in india is one to keep track of. Their website tells they are working in similar field but looks like technology providers to next generation travel portals. will await launch of their products to understand what they do best. – New Way to manage your online media activities

Further researching on my media management software. Brought me to this product called Mint which is easy to integrate with any LAMP or Rubyonrails architecture website. It helps you track who all are talking about your site on the web. Going from Blogs to News website to search engine crawling.

The price for the software is 30$ per site. But you are recommended to check the technology integration capability.

Still Video, Podcasts and offline Tv and Radio are mediums to be exploited.

Media Management Software

In my continuation effort for sharing product/business ideas which can become the next big thing. Here comes another media suite which can help marketing department manage their own advertising campaign rather than being dependent on advertising agencies.

What media management software does it. It will help you keep track of select organization/individual activities/apperances in news. This is another good way to manage/research an organization. Keep track of news articles,announcements, blogs, TV appearances, podcasts etc. The Idea is to filter media for you to manage your organization stacking up against the others in industry. Few people can subscribe to keep track/tap on other people or eve their own individual fame.

The idea is to help organization keep on top of market speculation and identify opportunities/ problems at early growth/report stage.

With availability of high bandwidth and technologies like youtube etc. Software can be based on a subscription kind of model  where people pay quarterly subscription fees. Probably can add lot of value to Hoovers Dun & Bradstreet Product.

Anyone interested to work on this idea would love to work out all operational issues.

Contact Details Call Me :+91-9910444460
November 2006