June 13, 2010

Roundtable on Online Travel (11th June, 2010)

This weekend, I finally managed to attend a good discussion on Online Travel. Special thanks to Kalyan.

Now you will think that what’s my interest in attending a discussion on Online Travel but can anything related to Internet be uninteresting. If I can attend Firefox’s developer camp, I was sure I’ll find some good points to take away from this one.

It was the first Round Table discussion on Online Travel organized my IAMAI and my friend Kalyan was kind enough to accommodate me for the same.

Panel comprised of
- Devdutta Banerjee (Regional Director of Revenue & Distribution Starwood Hotels)
- Dhruv Shringi (Founder & CEO of Yatra.com)
- Harish Bahl (Founder & CEO Smile Interactive Technologies Group)
- Kamal Hingorani (VP Sales & Distribution of Spicejet)
- Subhash Goel (Chairman STIC Group)

- Himanshu Singh (Managing Director Travelocity India)

It was really a stirring and enlightening discussion as most of the points discussed were not only applicable to Online Travel but to the entire eCommerce.

Here are some of the points that were highlighted during the discussion:

- Credibility is one of the major issues this is being faced by the online players. Thus some of them are evaluating a brick and mortar support as well.

- The complex and high engagement non air products are difficult to sell online whereas most of the ticketing as moved online (thanks to IRCTC)

- Cost of acquisition is still too high being Google being the major source. Thus companies to find other routes for acquiring leads in order to avoid ‘Google Tax’.

- Payment infrastructure is also a major concern. With 50-65% success rates of payment gateways, there is a huge scope for improving here.

Will add individual speaker’s comments soon

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