Horizontal Portals vs Travel 2.0 Portals in India

when we say horizontal portals in india first few which come in our mind are indiatimes.com, rediff.com, 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.

Indiatimes.com : 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 Yatra.com : Cheaper by 50 rupees on every air ticket.
Compare to cleartrip.com : 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.

Rediff.com : 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
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