Archive for December 3rd, 2006

Targeting Customer where they Land! – Sales strategy for Travel 2.0 Portals

An important place untouched by travel portals to reach out to potential customers are Airports/Railway Stations. If Kiosks are made available at airport which provide instant hotel/car transfer and next day morning domestic flight reservation facility. It will not only provide convienance to customers but help in creating brand name awarness.

To begin with rather than having Computerized Kiosks just have toll free line directly connecting users to customer care service of portal.  This way it will give you time to understand last-minute travellers requirement and change website process for suiting them when computerized kiosks are installed. Make sure kiosks have atleast 4 lines and you put one each at Arrival and Departure Terminal. I am expecting Departure terminal to generate more sales as compared to arrival terminal due to habit of flight delays in practise. It gives people time/opportunity to take care of their hotel bookings in free time made available courtsey the airlines.

Another area where travel portals can look at for bringing value to their customers. tieing up with lets say “XYZ Airways” and comming up with a co-branded card which gets mileage both on airlines and for shopping on the travel portal. But advantage is ability to access airlines lounge by getting ‘X’ mileage point with the portal. This way economy class travellers who are flying low frill airlines can take advantage of patronizing a travel portal and giving lot of business. Also it will help identify premium spenders on the site.

Mobile + Maps = Next Killer app for Travel 2.0 Industry

With everyone talking about Mobile Phones as next device for reaching larger mass. Interactive maps are another thing which will reveloutionarize the experience for users. If  i would know where i am standing presently on map or where address X ? will be , it will make more sense to just find hotel in lets say 3 KM radius and  actually visualizing them would seriously make a difference. With Mapmyindia its become a reality for india. You can type in your address and see it on zoomed in localized map. Importantly they didnt have a developers section encouraging people to use their API’s even on per transaction model basis. They need to come up with a strategy soon for other people to take advantage of their offerings. Otherwise Microsoft Map point will just enter the GIS market and take the market away.

Going back to how it helps Travel Industry if portals would let user create destination oriented comments. They would like them to tag important locations/attractions. Automatically tagging all the hotels available with portal on map to be presented to user. This is important from user perspective as not only you are providing them destination information mining tool, making them dependent on your travel portals but also deriving value out of it in terms of potential product placement opportunity. With these maps available on mobile phones it make more sense on being the booking engine for the users using the maps by providing free map and location finder services to customer.

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December 2006