Almost 24 hours ago i decided to do a myster shopper thing with travel portals. I was trying to research a destination trip to Varanasi. I decided to treat Online travel portal on par with Offline Travel Agents and see how did they stack up.
As i am a person who doesnt like talking on phone explaning what is needed. I prefer to put down my requirements in words. I wrote down a clear simple email with my travel constraints and destination of travel. The same which i wrote to my travel agent (which he prefers while interacting ). Here it goes
“I am looking to travel from delhi – varanasi .Reaching varanasi 23rd Dec and returning delhi on 26th Dec. Please advice me with travel plans and possibly budget hotels for a group of 10 adults 2 children”.
Within 4 hours i checked my inbox again to see a confirmation of travel request recieved from my travel agent. Advising they will get back to me by tommorow with details.
On the other hand i also sent email to 3 travel portals Yatra.com, cleatrip.com and flighraja.com. To my surprise even didnt get any automated confirmation email advising they will get back to me. dont even know if they even recieved the email or not.
My agent got back to me with couple of options which i am considering. Flying on Indian Airlines flight to Varanasi to couple of decent budget hotel options. None of the portals are yet to come back to me on my requirement.
Before i got reply back from my agent i was thinking probably as their is no flight connectivity between Delhi – Varanasi probably this is the reason portals never got back to me. But with very much indian airlines flying to destination and varanasi having no dearth of budget accomodation. There lies no reason for them not to get back to me.
For me customer support is very important hence OTA will never die as he is ready to get that extra mile to find that budget hotel or airlines even though he might not have direct tie up with them. This industry in india works on collabration with so much diversity in the industry and target customer profile. Portals need to start identifying niche customers and fulfill their requirements 100%. Will also try the telephone service too and do a witeup.
Will surely share pics from Varanasi tour if it materializes!