With the increasing broadband penetration & increasing internet users in India, the Indian travel ecommerce industry has been burgeoning and has seen increasing number of players. Some of the leading players in the space are www.irctc.co.in ,www.makemytrip.com , www.yatra.com , www.cleartrip.com (Leading players are determined on the base of users clicks monitored by www.vizisense.com).
I have been to many cities of India along with comes a lot of travelling. These travelling instances have worked as an eye opener to some of the business friendly and non-customer friendly strategies of Online Travel Portals. Some of the non-customer friendly experiences of mine with some of these travel portals I came across are presented in the blog.
>> Innovative but non-customer friendly pricing strategy (Travelocity): In order to understand the strategy, you need to perform a step wise detailed exercise presented below.
- Visit the website www.travelocity.co.in
- Now, query for domestic flights between any source airports to any destination airport. Make sure you set the following parameters before hitting the search now. One way trip and one adult.
- Observe the rates of each flight listed in the response to the search query.
- Now, perform the query for the same parameters except set Adult=2 passengers. Observe the rate of each flight listed in the response to the search query.
OBSERVATION: When parameter adult =2 is queried for, ticket rates are increased by some amount as compared to what they were for parameter adult=1 for the same flight. In my case presented in the images at the end of the blog, the rate of JetliteS20120 for a single passenger is INR 2961 whereas the rate of JetliteS20120 for two passenger is INR 3036 *2, which is an increment of INR 75 per passenger. However, in case of GO AIRLINES, the increment is INR 150. Incidentally, Travelocity was offering a discount of INR 150 per passenger while this exercise was performed by me.
>>Non Customer Friendly Service (MakeMytrip): I booked my bus ticket recently with MakeMytrip.com. The boarding point details mentioned in the attached ticket had several faults which are detailed below:
- The boarding point details do not contain any phone contact details, which in my case was easily found in www.justdial.com but the MakeMyTrip team did not bother to punch the same in the issued ticket. Note if you don’t have the phone contact details, these boarding points are so small that they are not known to rickshaws/taxi drivers and hence not easy to reach.
- Adding to this, the boarding point in my case was not the exact point at which the bus reached. The exact boarding point was nearly 1 kilometre away from the mentioned one. If you are pressed for time, you may end up paying double the rent for taxi/rickshaw for the kilometre and in my case I had to pay INR 50 for the kilometre travelled.
- More infuriating was the passive behaviour of customer care of MakemyTrip. A SOS call made by me when I was not able to find the exact boarding point was dropped abruptly by me post quoting the Trip ID. However, post the drop of the call there was no follow-up call by the customer care indicating the passiveness of the customer care.
>> Non Customer Friendly Service (Yatra): One of my air tickets to Chennai quoted a departure time twenty five minutes post the actual the departure time of the flight. A follow-up made by me with the customer care ended with the response that a change of less than half hour in the departure time of the flight is not communicated by customer care to the passenger and hence passenger is responsible for missing the flight. Please note in this case the flight timings for the concerned flight was changed nearly a month before the date of ticketing.
Internet is full of harrowing experiences with travel portals like mine. One of the experiences of a vivid blogger Kiruba which made it to a periodical is presented in this blog. These incidences are indicators of the fact that the present online portals can only boast of discounts and are low cost strategy oriented. The need to adopt a customer friendly and service oriented strategy has been put to back burner by the portals. Wake Up entrepreneurs there is a hole to plug.