Archive for the 'Travel Portal' Category

90ditravel – Travel information aggregator in right sense

Lately we have seen so many travel aggregator sites coming up that the launch of GDS travel portals was getting overshadowed for instance when flightraja changes its name to “via” not much coverage was given by people  following the online travel industry. Though i had always wondered how can these sites like call themselves travel search engines as they only concentrate on providing information on air ticket search via travel portals and airline websites.

No one is looking at bus or train as possible combination to draw up trip. Earlier these engines might have had problem getting information online to aggregate from but now with everything from train reservation to bus reservation available online its not a struggle.

I stumble upon from and email sent by someone from the team behind the product. What interested me to review the product is unlikely other travel aggregators they are covering atleast the Train to begin with.  Keeping in mind all studies for the travel industry is talking about B & C class town where lot of them still find nearest airport 150-200 KM drive. It makes more sense to create travel iteniary which is a mix match from their hometown to final destination.

90ditravel has an effective search engine although they need to really work on the interface part. For example the search results can provide me option to sort by journey time or pricing.

The point is its good they have got the engine ready and building the result. But these results need to be formatted and  made sense of before users can seriously benefit out of them. Bottom line they need to make it more user friendly. They should seriously consider lot more use of AJAX and hiring external designer to get the job done right.  The product is good and they try to get the usability in line before or get their agreement through with indian railways to sell tickets online. They should also look at adding the combination of bus timetables and reservation to further increase reach out and mitigate any risk associated with travel portal deals getting through with the railways.

As they are still in Beta i hope to see changes requested by me as a user are also given due consideration.

Timesofindia parent group acquires stake in which was covered on this blog couple of months ago has finally got the right recognition they deserve. This is a nice niche portal concentrating on hotel reservations instead of running with the bunch in generating revenues from Online Air Tickets reservation. They have got a good inventory on hotels and they could easily become the next travelport if they tweak their portal to become travel agent friendly. Lot of people have got into Travel agency business with just a credit card and internet connection, Portals like these can further validate and scale using them as a channel to access more customers. Study has indicated large chunk of business for IATA agencies is fronted by non-IATA travel agents.

Hence any person looking  at starting travel portal should think of business model dependent on this segment instead of targeting end user directly. – Online booking engine launch gone to waste

With most of the online blogs carrying posts talking about launching its online booking engine and downplaying the fact parent company is involved in promoting their own budget hotel series/inventory. The announcement focuses on their plan to launch chain of budget hotels in india adding to their existing properties in London,swiss,Budapest etc.

If you goto the current website it doesn’t have any sense of localization nor does it talk about its coming to india plan. What is to be seen from here is lot of international travel portals will start hitting the indian shore with international inventory and access one of the largest  travel e-commerce friendly emerging market. If you notice 80% carriers in indian air space are low cost airlines selling tickets via direct to public web based booking model. Which is the reason travel portals are being made to work more harder in indian market. The international travel portal coming in with inventory should not do what NAUTICA is doing in india. offering their clothing range at multiple of dollar value they are retailing in US or other developed markets. India launch – First hand review

As business standard covered the news on launch of in india. It bring to me no surprise that travelocity has planned to follow a different strategy than its fellow competition, etc. is only offering hotel and other side trip reservations in India. They have opened the system with budget hotels available in smaller cities but it doesnt look like they will be a big hit in indian market they will be powering inventory other way around to global network bringing in more hotels other than one aggregated by GDS like amadeus,abacus or galileo.

Though travelocity’s entry is being welcomed by travel agents more than the customers as hotel inventory which was hidden behind the mystical world of GDS will really open up and travel agents will get access to small budget hotels in international locations. Currently none of the major travel portals in india offer international hotel reservation which is also looked upon as a constraint keeping in mind the big spenders who are really using internet to plan their holidays abroad are not able to get right price pictures from the travel 2.0 INDIA.

Commercially speaking the travel portals might be doing 500 crores of business but with 80% of business being dependent on air the operating margin tilt is surely not in their favor at the moment. The numbers quoted by business standard article linked also gives the total travel e-commerce volume which in india mainly means online Online Flight reservations.

If you look from travelocity’s perspective commercially its not a wrong bet as end of the day inventory consolidated can always be marketed on their international network if INDIA game doesnt really work out.

Survival of travel portals without GDS

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 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.

Ginger Hotels Online Reservation Engine Review

Ginger Hotels

Ginger hotels an budget hotel initiative by Taj Group finally has an online presence . The hotel website is available at . The site provides necessary information on format of the hotel and services offered. Example The most advertised self-check-in facility. Pick and Drop counter using which you can get your laundry services done as well as order food from restaurants delivering near by. This is pretty good keeping in mind most of the people who stay at budget hotels tend to eat outside the hotel due to food tend to be more expensive in hotel as compared to eateries in neighborhood.

Anyway getting back to the hotel reservation engine used. The site is not compatible with Firefox and Opera browser hence had to do extra effort to open internet explorer to test the site. Finally when the reservation engine loaded correctly on the server after providing my dates and contact information the site took me to a registration page which again asked for the same information and created a user name and password with the details provided. On login with the same rather than advising me on selection made or if the rooms are available on set date and confirm the total cost for the stay they took me straight to Online ICICI Bank payment gateway web page.

Very bad by any online reservation engine standard. This will lead to great loss of advertising revenue for converting site hits into sales. We have sent an email to Media relations officer to forward our review to concerned authority in the organization lets see if Ginger hotels can respond back with changes to take advantage of web as an effective sales medium

Airdeccan goes for new Internet Reservation Engine

This is just in air deccan india’s leading low cost no frill airline has dumped interglobe technologies India   for Radixx International a US based travel technology software provider for their Online Internet Reservation Engine. Launch of Air deccan site marked Interglobe’s arrival in Travel technology vertical as an established player.

Using Radixx International’s hosted Air Enterprise suite which has also found taker earlier in Go Air . Go Air has much more simpler and efficent reservation engine instead of Air Deccan airlines. On Feb 27th 2007  till 2 PM air deccan reservation engine was still having trouble pulling out fares but after couple of attempts to run a query resulted in result format similar to Go Air.  The Corporate and Travel Agent login is also down due to changeover in system.

Possible Indian companies dont understand concept of effective changeover or Business Continuity planning keeping in mind Air deccan operations are 100% dependent on internet as sales channel.

This is second airlines in short span of 10 days to change their reservation engine and site format after jet airways first covered on Business India 2.0.

Travel Portal Synergies – to power air deccan hotel engine

First it was – spicejet airlines and now its – air deccan news. Travel portals in india have stuck upon opportunity to help low cost airlines derieve value added benefits from their existing online infrastructure setup. This will help travel portals to keep moving their inventory which is essential to keep up with the volume targets and help airlines to monetize and keep customers from wandering off to travel portals like travelguru which are going the package deal way to woo in clients.

For all the travel portal owners potential list of airlines to get in touch to derieve business.

– Kingfisher Airlines

– Indigo Airlines

– Go Airlines

these are the airlines one should bet on to get some synergies going.

Jet Airways – Launch of New Internet reservation Engine

With airlines realizing potential of internet as a sales channel, traditional GDS airlines like jet airways are now revamping their existing sites to ensure less clicks are made between selecting fare to travel to payment made for confirmed booking.

Recently jetairways released newer version of their site which for is also the better version due to the following easily identifable differences

– Site is loading up faster. Generally during peak hours (11 AM – 3 PM) the site takes almost 3-5 minutes to open up but now the time has come down to 25-35 seconds.

– The homepage has been sorted with better use of javascript to make most used features easily accessiable from homepage

– the online booking engine has also become better with comparision fare on same route for different times during the day available with calculated taxes which saves another page and 2 minutes wait.

– airline has also sorted the fares in new categories trying to compete with low cost airlines with web special fares and non-refundable fares made available. Though important thing to see is why would customer pay full economy class fare when check fare is available. For customers who dont understand the travel terminalogy its very hard to understand the difference except for price.

– checkout page has also improved with single form selection available saves 3-4 minutes. The page is also low on graphics which speeds up loading time.

Overall the site has improved tremandously and has set new standards for other airlines to follow.

Clear winner in Indian airline websites race….

Yahoo Fare Chase India Vs Rediff Fare Search

Accidently i reached Yahoo India homepage. In last 2-3 years probably i might have used yahoo  india homepage 10-15 times. As nor do i have a yahoo email account or any interest in using their search engine. As i had reached the page i wanted to see whom they had partnered for providing travel content/deals. I knew about global site alliance with lonely planet but nothing indian specific was in news.

On clicking Travel bumped into yahoo india’s new application Fare Chase. Which is pretty similar to Rediff Fare Search we have reviewed before. The difference is Yahoo fare chase shows more accurate pricing as compared to rediff fare search.  To understand why search is better lets look at yahoo fare search functionality.

What i could understand by looking at the application. Once you select the airport and dates  you wanna fly. The site runs an screen scraping utility to search airline website  for the fares and return results back to the user. Though the tool didnt work fine for me as i was checking fare between Delhi – Gorakhpur. It also showed me fair for Delhi – Agartala. Now i dont know why was that did the computer think agartala was the nearest airport??

Anyway once you click go it takes user back to original airline site from where fare was scrapped.  This is a good utility for travellers as AIRLINE WEBSITE FARES AND TRAVEL PORTAL FARES MAY BE DIFFERENT AT TIMES.

I like rediff fare search utility better as they have 90 days fare analysis utility which is very handy. So many times it has helped me plan my holidays.

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August 2020