Posts Tagged 'makemytrip.com'

Farecast – Lesson in store for Travel Meta Search Engines in India

Farecast an online airline and hotel fare prediction site has been brought over by Microsoft for 115 Million dollars.  The site one of its own kind offers not only price ranged based search and route connections offering cheapest flying alternatives but takes it to next level by predicting fares of airlines and giving opportunity for people to lock fares for a price.

Near shore in India our home grown Meta search engines look Zoomtra and Ixigo still try to evolve into advertisement driven platform. Biggest problem meta search engines face in India is low rate of adoption of their model by airlines. Airlines dont want to buy traffic or pay per lead. They are ready to share the commissions if you are ready to take responsibility of finalization on your own platform. This is the reason these travel meta search engines fight for space with OTA’s like makemytrip.com, yatra.com, travelocity.com

So how can travel meta search engines survive if they wont get support from airlines? Answer for this would lay with using synergies or competition provided on offers by OTA’s to route traffic to them instead of airlines. Though in short term it will lead to reduction of repeat users but then these meta search engine sites need to evolve with better differentiator tools like a fare prediction algorithm or reverse auction of customer leads to airlines. Idea is to innovate on based of data generated on user pattern instead of relying on advertising or per user lead.

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Does Indian Digital Media Industry need to be really scared of CPA Model??

Lately we have been seeing publishers and ad networks getting more worried with more and more traditional digital media advertisers like naukri.com, makemytrip.com etc moving towards CPA model forcing publishers and media agencies executing the plan to get paid when they provide returns on advertising revenue spend.

Lot of bloggers and publishers have talked against this model and especially in India where many publisher sales teams are still gunning for fixed slot and CPM deals not accepting even PPC campaigns makes it even harder to make learn the small publishers why they need to start taking risks to earn bigger revenues.

This lead to evolution of ad networks which are brokers which tend to hedge risk between advertising models preferred by advertisers and publishers.This is done by use of various technologies which slice and dice inventory offered by publishers identifying the best audience for advertisers where they can get conversions in return increasing value for both advertisers and publishers. In India apart  from DGM and Komli to just a small extent, none have been really successful on delivering effectively for industry to move towards CPA model.

I would not blame the publisher or ad networks but mainly the advertiser lot available. In india advertisers which are moving towards CPA model are the ones facing situation of extreme saturation. Why for CPA model to exist successfully publisher and there site audiences need lot of variety in terms of ad options etc. Lets look at category of advertisers pushing for CPA Model

* Real Estate sites – magicbricks, 99acres.com

* Matrimonial sites – bharatmatrimony.com, jeevansathi.com, shaadi.com

*  Job Boards –  naukri.com, monster.com, timesjob.com

* Travel Sites – Makemytrip.com, Yatra.com, TravelGuru.com

If you take any of the categories above mentioned there is no product differentiator or sheer difference in features which would also duplicates to their advertising campaigns. Second biggest problem being faced is most of these players have been in market for some time and casual surfers on internet where they are advertising is more likely to already know the brand and would have registered for their services(ex submitted resume on naukri or monster) further reducing chances of RoI. Though lot of people may argue that there are so many people coming online every month hence their is still scale which web advertising can provide to such advertisers. It is surely wrong to comment on the same. I believe conversion cost against the scale available to naukri or monster will be much higher on web display properties as compared to offline branding properties. For these kind of sites inventory created through other new avenues like cyber cafes or through university exam results site would yeild much higher return.  But again going back to the cause of publishers. For them to perform better in this category if they get advertiser like timesjob.com there is still chance of them getting lower conversion cost from display ad as compared to naukri or monster if they dont go for specific behavior targeting.

So how does the above statement help ??

For publishers to flourish and provide scale on CPA or CPL model for advertisers they need lot of advertisers with variety and availability of freshness. In india lot of agencies feel this is a newer model being tried out by advertisers but people are forgeting affiliate marketing has been a very old concept on internet with businesses like amazon, freebee  and commission junction have flourished.  But the main reason for them to flourish or for the model to flourish was availability of more than 500+ ecommerce ventures in US ready to fight out to grow the market and trying hard to reach out to audiences offering some thing different. Why is Google Ad words flourishing today is due to the fact small businesses are trying to reach out to the larger internet audience giving variety of option to users.

I think so digital media agencies need to teach their clients more about nuances also involved with the model rather than just talking pros of saving money. As in short term its returning them and their clients benefits but in long term its hurting the digital media industry overall.

I would also advice smaller publishers to become more about the CPA model and its advantages but they should carefully sit down and identify the right affiliate program they join otherwise they will end up loosing on precious money they could have just earned running low CPM campaigns from any ad network.

Travelogues in India – Oktatabyebye.com vs Holidayiq.com vs raahi.com

For Long we have compared our Online Travel portals and talk about growth of internet travel industry dependent on them. Internet in west for long has been source of travel information with travelers sharing their experiences online and destination guides available across all horizontal portals. In india the case has been different with indian internet space giving information what has been documented by Lonely Planet or international travelers on india. Though in last 16-18 months we have seen a change with travel information portals backed by these OTA’s coming into play, Makemytrip.com came in with oktatabyebye.com and yatra.com came out with raahi.com. This space has lot of growth potential with all these travelogues concentrating on destination guides and trip planning aspect mainly employing lot of technology play like blogging, social networking, forums for increasing user generated content.

Holidayiq.com – This is one of the most evolved travel information forum as compared to the other travelogs being talked about in this post. The site is meant for more evolved internet users as really i dont find it very simple to use. Keeping in mind how much people are use to OTA sites to find flights and hotels information i firmly believe the interface used by these travel forums should completely emulate that. What i liked about holidayiq.com was the quality of content being generated you go to their forums or to reviews done by other users on hotel properties to destinations they are pretty helpful as they talk in travelers language. They have a tie up with Yahoo Farechase to return impartial best possible flight results.

Expert Travel Information : 8/10

Destination Guides : 6/10

What holidayiq.com can do better is organize the site more in terms of interactive maps and attractions at destinations as core point for organizing tours in destination. They need to work more on usability front as they need to come out accessible for common INDIAN internet user which is still not comfortable using the forums.

raahi.com – A Yatra.com initiative which is more the travel portal driven instead of user review driven is a great resource to get snapshot on each destination with rich media content like videos and photographs being shared. The quality of user reviews and destinations is not as great as holidayiq.com but also doesnt fare up according to expectation. Better user navigation and interface than holidayiq.com gives it an edge. The site has more uphill task in generation of user content and with current advertising campaigns being executed we feel they should succeed.

Expert Travel Information : 4/10

Destination Guides : 8/10

If raahi.com can sustain little bit more without monetizing their site with google ads that would be really appreciated as they are very distracting.

oktatabyebye.com – Makemytrip.com play in this field is an ideal balance between the expert forums provided by holidayiq and structured destination guides provided by raahi.com. They score high on usability with all major important features of sites used by people given reference or entry point from homepage. Also the way they are sharing it information without need for user login etc makes it score points over holidayiq.com. Though raahi.com is more detailed in its reviewing OTBB scores on aggregation of internal content with structured presentation of data. Another reason why i like them better over others is ability to plan road trips which is major differentiator for regular travelers.

Expert Travel Information : 6/10

Destination Guides : 8/10

Overall these sites are good starting point for anyone planning a trip in India but they need to evolve further in terms of data on selection of airlines for traveling or airport information. Keeping in mind most of the OTA’s currently focus on offering airline tickets and services are being rendered out of airport hence lot of data should flow in terms of airport location and services at airports. How to plan trip from airport to attractions or business meeting venues available in vicinity. Its all about not copying the forums and websites in US but being innovative based on Indian market requirements.


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November 2017
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