Indian online travel agency goes international
In order to combat the security hazards associated with using international credit cards on their domestic travel portal, Yatra.com has launched its operations in the US and the UK.<br>
In order to combat the security hazards associated with using international credit cards on their domestic travel portal, Yatra.com has launched its operations in the US and the UK.
As Yatra expands its operations, the online travel agency has gone for varied operations in these two new markets.
Yatra has started a US-specific website that has all the security features to authenticate the transaction through international credit cards.
However, unlike in India and the US, it is the B2B (business-to-business) positioning that the agency is aggressively pursuing in the UK market.
“We have recently opened office in the UK. Our team is approaching agents there and asking them to make bookings for India through us,” said the spokesperson for the portal.
The online travel company, which is currently doing average revenue of US$20 million a month and a volume of more than 6,500 air tickets and 300+ hotel room nights per day, is also pushing its retail chain brand Yatra.com Holiday Lounges.
Yatra, which already offers options to book via the internet, through its 24x7 customer care centre and mobile phones, is also building its offline presence.
In the first year of its operations since the launch of its store in Mumbai in April 2008, the company has opened 15 such lounges across the country. These are located in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon (Delhi NCR), Noida (Delhi NCR), Kochi, Aligarh, Chennai, Chandigarh, Jhasi, Ludhiana, & Pune.
The company is now all set to launch two more outlets in Pune and Mumbai by 2009-end.
“Yatra Holiday Lounges are our premium retail outlets, located at convenient locations within the city. A Yatra lounge is a one stop shops for all your travel needs providing a leisurely ambience and an opportunity to research and plan your holiday in a convenient and comfortable environment,” said the spokesperson.
In m-commerce, Yatra offers several booking options on mobile phones – via SMS, WAP site, Java (for downloading desktop application on mobile phones) and voice or via call. If user hasn’t got a GPRS connection, then one can follow a “Fly-Select-Book” process on SMS to book flight. The company is currently handling 30-40 bookings on daily basis, predominantly air-related ones.
Last year, Reliance Communications and Yatra.com launched a mobile service to provide hotel and air ticket bookings over all Reliance Mobile handsets. This service can be accessed using Reliance Mobile World (R World), the multimedia application suite of Reliance Communications. This was the first time that such a facility is being offered by a travel portal on a mobile phone.
Business Model: As a premier multi-channel travel services provider in India, Yatra.com stipulates that buying channel is a function of product. Considering the fact that domestic point to point flight ticketing continues to move online, standalone hotel room bookings will happen online but it will post improvement in the supply by end-2008 and domestic leisure travel bookings for packages and international travel (due to its “high touch” interactions like Visa, Foreign Exchange) largely remain offline, Yatra’s business model has adopted a multi-channel approach in quest to be a complete travel solutions provider.