With more and more new travel portals coming online the first point of differentiation being looked at is the customer base they are trying to reach out to. Most of them are using same GDS technology at backend to pull fares for customers or are trying to rope in same hotels offerings. As a user then relying on a travel portal becomes specific on the user interface design they offer.
Hence the need for travel portals to evolve further by making investment in new technology initiatives other than one which allow them to be a better GDS deal aggregators or generating algorithm for fare construction.
If we look at Indian market portals can actually survive without the GDS as major chunk of online sales are coming thanks to ever growing number of low cost airlines + big daddy of all airlines “INDIAN” airlines. All of these airlines are ready to provide white label access directly to their reservation engines hence bypassing the GDS completed and giving the same real time online reservation capabilities. Earlier when yatra.com was taking booking for Air deccan when they started it took them time to issue E-ticket after accepting payment online due to the same factor that air deccan online reservation engine was not e-integrated with their own engine. Though they could get the flight details and fare but to confirm seat it was a different process. Second reasons why travel portals can survive without GDS as biggest mode of transportation which would soon open up their reservation engine for travel portal is railway which will again increase the revenue volumes for such portals.
According to Sid things travel portal should do to maintain their ‘A’ Game strategy
– create market specific travel platform driven by technology as they can grow if they also create market hence deriving value on fare construction to deal aggregation of Tier-II cities.
– Try to bring hotels online throw hotels free hotel reservation system with requirement to connect to internet for 2 hours every day to maintain current hotel availability status.
– Bring in room rate exchange system like airlines whereas room rates can go up and down based on availability. This would also help people plan holidays in advance.
Overall travel portals need to get innovative in terms of business model on offer, they need to take advantage of bus,car and train ticket reservation before hotel content becomes more instant available like in western countries.