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È How much have you grown? 100 per cent for the month of March this year from last year in terms of unique visitors. È So what is next? We are also going to launch a TV commercial. We will use some of our ideas and try to inspire people and get them to us for finding destinations, getting information and booking them. It will help us increase our audience space. This way we are actually focussing on growth in terms of visitation right now and we are letting our sites sort of take care of the repeat visitors. Our focus today is actually drawing a lot more traffic than trying to retain it. Being content heavy, informative and developing this search has helped us retain our users. È What has been your greatest challenge? Information content, generating good quality content; I think that has been a challenge. What is going to remain a
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challenge is sourcing of content. It is difficult and challenging to keep up-todate information. You have to be constantly fresh. You must have the pulse of every place that you are covering. È With so many sites available, how do you retain your clients? You have to keep innovating. You have to keep adding. That’s the game now. Loyalties are being challenged at every stage. We have to keep capturing the imagination of the person to keep drawing them back. Now whether it’s by providing a cheap flight ticket or content that’s user friendly and fun — you have to add value. The Internet is bridging the gap between the endservice provider and the consumer. So, the middleman is challenged to provide that extra bit of value. È What about the other middleman, the travel agent? Will he become nonexistent? He is severely challenged. Today,
“Innovation is the name of the game” JourneyMart.com’s innovative destination search tool provides the basis for choosing as well as discovering an ideal destination. Varun Chadha, COO, JourneyMart.com, talks to Meghna Bhaduri about the company’s ‘Unique & Innovative Holiday Search’ and what’s next.
airlines prefer to promote web-only fares. Hotels are doing it. They are all discounting on their sites. So the middleman is challenged. He has to either offer value, good rates or be innovative and provide information. But I don’t think he will become nonexistent because there are values that only he can bring to the table — convenience and expertise. He’s a onestop shop who simplifies the whole process, something that sometimes endservice providers can’t. While people search and plan online, bookings in terms of actual online transactions are not rising as fast. There are multiple factors for this. One is that people want tangibility. They want someone to speak to, to bargain with, and to customise. Also, credit cards become an issue, where the circulation of credit cards is not that high. So that’s where portals and providers are coming out with alternative modes of payment such as net banking, debit cards, etc. È Tell us a little more about your innovation. Absolutely. Our search is based on an in-house property called Destination Explorer, which is our travel guides — travel guides on 1,000 plus destinations in India and across the world, plus our logic of reason and season. I think we’ve got more than 17 reasons to travel because seasons take over as the months to travel. So it’s our expertise working, where we are giving recommendations to users, based on user preferences and giving a name to their destination. So, either you know where you want to go, and we give you the information, a product that is coming from multiple sources. Or, you don’t know where you want to go and we help you plan, based on your choices. We throw out options and it’s very user friendly. You can actually go and play around with it. Rather than it being static, it is dynamic to the extent that you can change your preferences and it will keep refreshing and throwing results. This is then backed with information and products. È What is the newest trend that is emerging in India now? City-getaway is big, especially for the typical middle class and upper middle class, where the disposable income has gone up. We cover nine major metros and travel-recommend destinations. People are challenged for time so this is a very emerging trend, especially with the youth.
CRUISING HEIGHTS June 2012
cruising heights june 2012