Regional Vice President – India & Sub-continent, TravelClick
On emerging trends in the hospitality industry
We get the data, clean it up and put it on analytic tool and let hoteliers see what kind of data they acquire. What kind of business can they acquire, convert and retain?
In the second quarter of 2016, on a global level, 32 to 38 percent of all business that came was direct business. I am sure people are looking at how the OTA business is changing globally, and how the web is changing globally. In Delhi, from January to September this year, it is very interesting to see that when the demand has been going up, the RevPar has been growing, too. Whenever there is good demand, the RevPar is going up and whenever the demand is falling, RevPar is also falling substantially, as well. But the future is definitely looking better for the industry.
Founder and CEO, Audio Compass
On the need for structured information at easy affordability for travellers on the go
We are changing the way people experience their destination, after they get to their hotels. This is the next frontier in travel; this is where all the spend is happening.
People need help when they travel. Many of us, including travel companies, agencies and DMCs do not either recognize it, or are not doing enough to actually address that need. In India, with so many stories and so much of information, you cannot blame them.
There is free information, completely unstructured, available online. This is where sites like TripAdvisor, Wikipedia and a bunch of other apps come in. There are tons of material available on the Taj Mahal. I mean it is easy to know the opening and the closing hours, but you have to rely on this unstructured information when you get there. The other option is hiring a guide. The truth is that in India and in the APAC, you are either stuck with a guide that is very cheap, or with someone who is very expensive – which is out of the affordability range for most travellers. That is where we come in. We provide, through our technology, a very high quality, digital, do-it-yourself experience to travellers while they travel.
Founder and CEO, TTW Holdings
On B2B offerings
We have multiple brands that we work on. What we do is to create experiences for our customers, which is not only about selling, but about creating an immersive buying experience. So the genesis of our business is about emulating the offline buying experience of a tour to move it online. The challenge we face is that if you look at a transactional product like an air-ticket, where the data points for a customer to make a buying decision is very limited.
So what we have tried to do is move the whole process online, creating an immersive experience for the customer to go ahead and book a tour. Of course, when we talk of an immersive experience, we also allow them to build their own itinerary. It is very important to understand the new-age traveller for travel agents. This new-age traveller is educated, very vocal on the social media; this new-age traveller also wants to do things on his own.
On his company’s work
A lot of people go to OTAs, travel agents, picking up tours, or those who want to enjoy it themselves and do a lot of planning. They invest significant time on it. This is where we found an opportunity. We said is there a way we could simplify the entire process for the new-age traveller? That is where we sat down to figure out all the pros and cons. If you look at self-planning, it is obviously time consuming. There is a lot stuff happening online. There are payment wallets, a lot of coupon codes and, still, you are never sure if you are getting the best possible rates.
At PickYourTrail you look at personalisation, take your suggestions and a real time algorithm builds itineraries that suits a customer’s interest.
Founder and CEO, GoodHotel Network
As far as the online e-commerce business in India is concerned, it is growing. Some time back a picture of a person paying a cop through online transfer went viral. That sort of sums up what is happening in that space. I divide this business into two parts. One is the commerce that is transactional. There is limited decision making, like buying groceries and air-tickets online. The other one is the sales process that is much more consultative. It is complex, there are multiple decision making proxies – the business most of us are in, like booking holidays and hotels. The problem that we are trying to resolve is how to make the whole consultative selling process easier across the customer and the supplier.