Online travel business always sees some cutthroat competition, and with the summer vacation season on, the competition is only getting more fierce. With a plethora of deals available not just for booking tickets, but also tours and travel packages and hotels, the consumer is spoilt for choice. Some leading online travel portals share their summer strategy with exchange4media.
Differentiation is the name of the game here. One has to differ from the others in terms of reaching out to the target segment and assuring them with the most suitable deal that suit their travel plans.
On this, Deep Kalra, CEO, Makemytrip.com, said, “For the first time, we have launched flight inclusive holidays departing from various major cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Chennai. Most of the traditional summer holidays don’t start from the home city, but typically from a starting hub like Delhi. By providing flight inclusive holiday from the home city, we are not just taking care of the comfort, but also kept the cost low. A flight ticket in this case is case as good as free.”
He further said, “Through our internal customer study, we found that customers are looking for shorter holidays and not the typical 10-15 day break. Based on this research, we have reduced the duration of escorted tours. Since these are inclusive of flight time, travellers save the time that they would have otherwise spent travelling and get more time to spend with their families.”
On the other hand, Travelguru.com has pitched their ‘beat the heat’ proposition through hotel deals. Ashwin Damera, CEO and Co-Founder, Travelguru.com, elaborated, “Our hotel deals are definitely our USP. Apart from hotels, we have also launched a rate finder product for flights. This product enables a customer to search for the best airfare across all airline websites as well as key OTAs such as Travelocity, Akbar Travels and ibibo.”
Yatra.com provided tailor made propositions for its customers. “Yatra has introduced customised holiday interface, wherein the customer has the flexibility to create his own holiday online. It also serves as destination and activity guide with comprehensive information about the destinations and activities there in. BYOP has capabilities to recommend a holiday to unique and subjective requirements of a customer; a user can assign a profile to his holiday and can get the relevant recommendations,” explained Pratik Mazumdar, Head - Marketing and Strategic Alliance, Yatra.com.
Change should be constant
USP of a site definitely helps in increasing the number of clicks and sales. But what makes a user comeback and relate to the site is the way the site allows customer interaction.
Keeping this in mind, Travelguru.com has come up with a new campaign. Elaborating on this, Damera said, “This summer we are running a campaign called ‘India On Sale’, which is a humourous way of promoting the deals we have on nearly all Indian destinations. Actor Vinay Pathak features in this ad, which has been running in multiple media touch points.”
Meanwhile, Makemytrip.com has designed new pages to give a fresh feel to the site. Kalra said, “As far as the look and feel of website is concerned, there have been special products and new product pages created for the summer holidays.”
While USP and innovation do draw a lot of traffic, the ultimate sales only happen when the customer finds the product best suited to him/her in terms of tariffs and price slabs, and not to forget, discounts.
Yatra.com’s Mazumdar said, “We have special offers across the country in all categories and a wide product mix to suit the needs of every kind of traveler. There is a focus on special and unique deals such as Leh/Ladakh, Kashmir, Shimla, Manali, Nainital, Pondicherry, Ooty, Mt Abu, Coorg, Munnar, Kasauli, Chail, Ranikhet, the North-East (Darjeeling/ Kalimpong), Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and of course Goa.”
Makemytrip.com’s Kalra said, “There are two kinds of holiday packages that we have launched for the summers. Escorted tours – these are flight inclusive holiday packages to Kashmir, Ladakh, the North-East, Uttrakhand and Himachal – have departures from all major cities. We also have attractive international holidays to South East Asia. Our Super Saver holiday package to Singapore and Malaysia is one of the most popular ones.”
On the other hand, Travelguru.com is banking on the discounts offered on 400 hotels to raise its sales figures. “For the summer holidays, there are over 400 hotels that have promotions on them. Over and above the offers, we also have short discount/ sale that lasts for 3-5 days,” said Praveen Meloth, AVP, Travelguru.com.
With the economy picking up and families again ready to splurge on summer holidays, travel portals are all geared to cash in on the vacation season. However, what will work out even better is having the customer return for booking his/her next holiday as well.