In an interaction with Disha Shah Ghosh, Rajat Bhatia, Director on Board/VP –People & Culture (International) and Vikas Banga, VP-Products, Fareportal shed light on their technology innovation, manpower and and customisation for corporate travel needs.
Q. How does Fareportal bridge the gap between a booking site and an agent?
A. Fareportal provides high quality and high touch customer care 24/7 through its captive contact centre with phone numbers displayed on every web page, providing wide variety of travel products and assisted buying for our customers.
Q. How do you position Fareportal in the global market vis-à-vis competitors in the same space?
A. Fareportal’s main business focus is in the Flights domain, and thus being amongst the top three largest flights OTA in North America. Additionally, Fareportal provides high quality and high touch customer care 24/7 though its captive contact centre with phone numbers displayed on every web page.
Q. Enlighten us on some of the back-end technology innovation from the Fareportal stable?
A. Fareportal has been instrumental by leading industry-first integrations of airline ancillaries and NDC with the world’s top airlines. There are also many technology backend innovations like the chatbot, enhanced customer interactions through RPA and using machine learning backed search engine to provide most appropriate travel products to our customers.
Q. Talking about the Indian market, traditional travel agents still play an important role. Keeping this in mind, where do you think the OTA market is heading for, especially after the pandemic?
A. The OTA market will continue to see significant growth and we can see significant signs of recovery post the pandemic. The key differentiator, however, will be technology and personalisation. Customer loyalty and retention, assisted buying and flexible booking options, at a good price will differentiate OTAs.
Q. There is a need for skilled manpower in the travel industry to drive businesses with technology. In that sense, what is your manpower requirement for India and plans for maximising your staff strength?
India accounts for 85% of our global manpower. We will continue to invest in high skilled manpower, to drive growth and high-end technology solutions for our customers.
Q. In terms of customisation for corporate travel needs, what are your service add-ons with new travel norms in place for overseas travel?
A. Fareportal provides travellers with detailed information related to travel norms, and visa restrictions during the booking process and till the time customer has completed the journey. In addition, on certain international routes we offer products like Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) which gives the flexibility to travellers to get instant refund in case their plans change or are impacted by any new travel norm.