When we were trying to understand the online travel industry, we struck across an interesting fact that 40% of the travellers worldwide who use social media sites for travel information (Source: Ticket Goose).
Below is the breakup of the % of respondents that use social media sites to research and plan their trips (as of January 2013:
- Facebook: 76%
- Google+: 40%
- Twitter: 21%
- Flickr: 7%
- Instagram: 7%
- Myspace: 6%
- Pinterest: 6%
- Orkut: 4%
- Other: 25%
While that is global data, when we explored a little further to see the data from a India (in specific Chennai) perspective, this is what we found from Ticket Goose:
- 46% of bookings were done by operators and a whoooping 44% where done by individuals themselves online and only a mere 9% booked through an agent
- While booking online, 51% of them used debit cards, 29% through net banking, 16% through Credit cards (highlighting the low banking and credit card penetration in India) with only 4% paying cash on delivery. While COD is still at 4% of total transactions online, this is sure to rise as we learn from the ecommerce experience.
- Over 30% of them prefer Multi-volvo and Volvo and other luxury buses for their travel as spending power increases in India
- The younger generation seems to prefer usage of bus for travelling as compared to the older generations
- Software professionals form the major chunk of professionals who use bus for long distance travel
Some interesting Online Travel Startups in India
Interestingly there are many online travel startups in specific niche's which are trying to enter the market. For instance, there have been a number of startups in the online bus travel space, like Ticket Goose, Ticket Karan and Travel Yaari while even established players like Makemytrip, Yatra and Ezeego1 are entering this space. Some industry sources also expect Cleartrip to also enter into online bus bookings.
Cleartrip recently launched Rail Search as online travel portals look beyond airlines as additional source of revenue. Cleartrip expects non airline revenues to go up to 20% this year. Even Make My Trip launched their “Holiday Plus” to create more engaging holiday packages rater than just air tickets and hotels.
Some of the other online travel portals that are worth visiting are
- Polama - who claim to have pre-checked and pre-verified hotels with an interesting tagline of "We check out before you check in"
- Holiday IQ - claims to be India's first and biggest travel community, possibly trying to compete with Trip Advisor
- Travel Yaari - a minimalistic and yet brilliant UI to plan your bus journey
- A Break Please - A getaway planner specifically for Mumbai & Pune with packages sorted under various themes like riverside, farms, pet friendly, romantic
- Life is Outside - an interesting site to explore weekend destinations and quick getaways. After all life is so much better outside our bustling cities
- High on Travel - Handpicked and curated collection of experiential hotels and holidays
- India Untravelled - If you want something offbeat and are looking to explore the real India, the rural india then India Untravelled might point you in the right direction
- Expeditions India - An adventure trip planner for the adrenal rush seekers
We hope you enjoy exploring these travel planning portals. We look forward to receiving your feedback on the post and infographic :)