India-based online agency Yatra is looking to partner with UK offline agents for its newly developed itinerary building service.
The OTA wants to make its content rich ‘build your own package’ tool available to traditional UK agents because of customers’ propensity to book long-haul travel face to face. In India, the tool will be available direct to consumers.
Yatra chief executive Dhruv Shringi said turnaround times for agents in the UK to get a response from local suppliers could be between 24 and 48 hours which in many cases meant losing the customer.
The ‘build your own package’ service offers the latest pricing and availability information as well as images, destination guides, YouTube videos and the ability to book flights, accommodation, car-hire and tours.
It also includes sliders to help consumers choose their hotel category, sightseeing and tour preferences and best time to travel.
“I still feel that people travelling to India do research online but then book offline – they need that hand-holding. We want to partner with as many people as possible and get people comfortable with the tool.”
Shringi said that it was still ‘early days’ for Yatra’s UK presence, which was launched at the end of March. He said total daily visits to the UK site were up to 5,000 a day but that unique visitors were 3,000. In India the site attracts 100,000 visitors a day while the US site draws 25,000 daily.
While Indians resident in the UK make up the largest percentage of travellers, about 12% are other nationalities.
Shringi added that the hope is to increase UK traffic from January with tactical offers and promotions for the Easter travel peak.
The company is also planning some television advertising through sponsorship deals with Style. He claimed the site was generating between 8,000 and 10,000 tickets a day in India for domestic travel with the US service selling about 200 a day.
“The US is getting good traction and we’re setting ourselves the same target for the UK by October 2010.”