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Wednesday, 18 April, 2018, 12 : 23 PM [IST]

'India stands at the cusp of internet revolution'

After starting physical operations in India in early 2017, world’s leading travel metasearch, KAYAK, has started rolling out localised products and solutions for Indian customers to make intelligent travel decisions. The recently launched Travel Hacker Guide was one such solution. Abhijit Mishra, Regional Manager - India & Middle East, KAYAK spoke to TravelBiz Monitor about their suite of products and solutions as well as their India market focus in a detailed interview.

QWhile deciding to set up India operations in early 2017, what kind of void that KAYAK looked at filling in the Indian travel market as a travel metasearch?
Our Indian site was live before our official introduction to the market. With increased prevalence of smartphones and consumers’ voracity for e-commerce in India, we see a huge opportunity here to continuously help and guide Indian travellers through each stage of travelling i.e. from planning to booking and managing their trips. Our Indian users love our suite of helpful tools, especially the free travel assistant in our app, Trips, which manages all your itineraries and provides you real-time alerts on flight schedules, any changes, check-in information, etc.

QHow are Indian travellers evolving in comparison to international travel metasearch for reference in the process of their planning, searching and management of travel compared to more matured travel markets?
India is a rapidly growing travel market and has continued to show impressive growth over the past several years. We see an immense potential in the online travel market. With increasing internet penetration and smartphone adoption, India stands at the cusp of an internet revolution. While the online travel space has witnessed a boom over the years, today, there are many players in the same space vying for the consumer’s attention. However, more than being a challenge, we see this as an opportunity for the industry and for consumers.

Matured markets are different from India, as consumers look not only for the best price, but also seek features to effectively plan their itinerary. KAYAK’s features such as Price Alerts, Trips & its integration across users’ smart devices are considered key differentiators in various foreign markets.

QWhat kind of localisation KAYAK has brought into for India customers considering the market’s unique travel behaviour?
To help Indian travellers travel with confidence in the new year and make exploring even easier, we recently launched the first Travel Hacker Guide (KAYAK.co.in/travelhacker). We analysed 1.5 billion+ annual travel search queries on KAYAK to create this Guide, for travellers looking to start off the new year by planning their next holiday.

The Guide provides insights, travel tips and rankings of the popular and top trending destinations, as well as the most affordable cities to fly to and the best times to book flights, so that Indian travelers can plan and travel smarter in 2018. The Guide’s ‘When to Book’ feature allows Indian travellers to input their home airport and desired destinations, so they can find the best prices as well as information on what’s considered a good deal based on KAYAK’s historical data.

QWhat are the new tools that KAYAK is introducing to make consumers take informed decisions while buying travel products?
As a global tech company, innovation is a priority, that’s why we have a dedicated team that focuses on site technology and innovation.

For example, Trips organises and manages your travel itineraries and notifies you, for example “your time now. For example, KAYAK’s key partners include some of the largest OTAs in the country, such as MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra. com, etc. Metasearch engines are witnessing a consistent increase in traction from consumers in India. This is due to the increased awareness and also they help to make life easier for users by aggregating data. For example, KAYAK aggregates data from across the internet to give users the best prices available. According to our recent ‘travel addicts’ survey, almost 61% Indians opened more than four websites simultaneously to compare prices. This insight shows the immense opportunity metasearch engines have in a market like India

Since officially introducing ourselves locally in 2017, we’ve been settling into the market fast and expanding our presence locally. We have been seeing an increase in y-o-y searches to top destinations. I think you can tell that we growing locally in India. As of today, globally we have 1.5 million+ properties (hotels and accommodations), 750+ airline partners, more than 300,000 vacation packages and 85+ rental car partners across 80,000 locations worldwide.

 
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