Archive for December 6th, 2006

Need Tickets to Fly Delhi – Raleigh, North Carolina Help?

You would wonder when i can pickup phone and reserve tickets with a travel agent or an airline website why would ask for help. I m planning a business trip next month to North Carolina and was looking at using internet to reserve my travel plans.

Its been 4 hours first to identify which travel portal would give me instant rates on international flights out of india.  I begin with

First of all site didnt work properly in Mozilla. After switching to Internet Explorer  and running the search it ran. I wonder why travel portals misbehave when it comes to providing outbound from india fares. The fares and connection site displayed me i would be better of flying First Class(atleast Executive class). The cheapest fare quoted was  INR 1,31,177 on Continental Airlines flying Delhi-Newark-Raleigh. The first thing i did with this information was goto galielo system access which we have brought in for backoffice operations. Ran a search with same routing and picture was totally different. Fare was around INR 60,000. Now thats a big difference! Even running search on Continental Airlines website threw a different picture. The price quoted online was  INR 119,513.00

when first started in 2001 we had talked to amadeus for providing us access to global distribution system. They adviced us charge will be around INR 90,000 and they will integrate our site to a booking engine of amadeus which will display same fares as comming on terminal (galileo,amadeus etc). At that time online reservation was not a model we were looking as advertising sounded a much better proposition then asking people for money online to buy services.

Anyway getting back to finding fare outbound from india. It makes me wonder is it the lack of technology which is creating such problem for offering cheap instant airfares online. As most of the travel search engine exist are concentrating on domestic airfares. if this is the case their exist an opportunity to build such engine. Will find out more information from amadeus people and post it online.

till then if anyone is interested to sponsor my visit will get a special thank you post. Cheers – The Real Travel 2.0 application for India

Since early 2006 we have been hearing a lot about travel 2.0 in india and how travel search engines are changing the landscape. What is trying to do is going the next step giving tools to users which really make travel planning via internet beneficial for indian travellers.

If you have used flyspy or farecast the techonlogy or way they have approached the problem looks very primitive. But the objective they are trying to achieve is important instead of the means. though to reach to the tool its not an easy access just from rediff fare search page. You need to first do a search for a route fare and then you get a link to see lowest fare on the route.

Rediff Fare SearchImportant thing is i sended a quick feedback to rediff team and got a reply back from Salil Chandrashekhar who is product manager fare search. This is what he had to say

We started this service with the intent of assisting users on find the cheapest air tickets across airlines. I happened to read your current blog “Horizontal Portals vs Travel 2.0 Portals in India“. It is pretty evident that you are among the more evolved users. Hence, I am certain you must be aware that we do not make any commission from any airline and are airline neutral on our results.

The lowest fare finder across 90 days has been our attempt to truly make the end customer the king. That said, these are still early days for our service and we are actively working on improving the same. We look forward to your continued feedback and support of Rediff FareSearch.”

It surely talks about the team knowing what direction they are heading ruling out business to compete with TSE but to make customer feel as king. Their site currently sends refferal to yatra and cleartip which also reflects their collabrative approach towards the vertical. Wish to see more 2.0 pps from rediff in other verticals like real estate and jobs etc.

Horizontal Portals vs Travel 2.0 Portals in India

when we say horizontal portals in india first few which come in our mind are,, Yahoo india,Sify . They are still starting point for lot of people on internet in india. I decided to look at these portals and analyze their strategy towards growing online travel e-commerce market. : Faraway the best of all horizontal portals will be talking about here. They have the capacity and the numbers to give any vertical travel portal run for their money. They have a fairly competetive and good travel reservation engine. Which gives out of comparision between fares of different airlines fares.  Though what i didnt like i had to disable popup blocker as they opened up a new page with transaction details. It looks like portal follows a strategy to provide retail shelf space to airlines with co-branded page up and ready as soon as shopper decide to shop.  Their auction system is still the best with airtickets from india airlines, sahara airlines up for grab every minutes. They probably need to re-model and focus little more on travel to bring in the necessary changes to become numero uno even in travel vertical.

Compare to : Cheaper by 50 rupees on every air ticket.
Compare to : On same lines as  price wise difference was 11 rupees  on an  spicejet  airticket. But cleartrip had a better interface.

Verdict :They probably need to re-engineer and focus little more on travel to bring in the necessary changes to become numero uno even in travel vertical. : Their travel strategy has been more advertising model based .Its core to rediff’s business to attract lot of indian advertisers and travel sector was their attempt to derieve traffic away from indiatimes. They have an auction system pretty much similar to what indiatimes invented or attempted for the pre- indian travel industry focus for internet users. Their site gives different link if you click on top bar airfares to under shopping buy airline tickets. Their Meta Air fare search engine was still in beta when this post was being run. They dont wish to compete with travel engines but to compliment then or derieve revenue from driving users to them. Sounds like a good strategy and to compliment that they have done what i have been demanding since day one a farecast or better flyspy model for india. I will be doing a special post on this soon.

Verdict : They got great going and can be termed really as travel 2.0 portal but they need to make the project more usable for end user. Though they are in beta i must say the direction of project/vertical is good.

Yahoo India : Currently they dont offer nothing specific for indian travellers. which is clearly indicated by non availability of  Travel vertical link on their homepage for india. But indian users can derieve lot of advantage from their international destination content (in tie up with lonely planet something which cleartrip is also comming out with soon)  and other important utilities like Currency convertor etc.

Verdict : The way yahoo is working in india. It looks like they will either tie up with one of the travel search engines in market or look at creating a B2B strategy for including travel agents to service the indian consumer market.

Sify : For some reason i had lot of expectations from sify in travel vertical to offer something soon after its acquisation of globe travels almost 6 months ago. They are yet to reflect much on the portal. But from the look of news and type of acquisation done they are surely looking at pure play internet e-ticketing targeting travellers outbound from india.

Verdict : Wait to see more on the strategy.

So looks like we will see horizontal portals fighting for attention with dedicated travel portals.But in the end we expect them to mature and collabrate for benefit of Online indian travel market.

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December 2006