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‘’Pricing is a key game changer for any industry’’

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What potential do you see in the travel and tourism sector in India?

Satish Gaonkar

Adoption of technology is still at a nascent stage for the Indian travel and hospitality industry. There are quite a number of travel agencies catering to the needs of the Indian travellers. Most of them have yet to start leveraging technology. There are also a significant number of hotels across the country that are yet to adopt technology effectively. There are some inherent challenges as well in adopting best-of-breed solutions – in terms of infrastructure as well as the right type of solution. For some of the smaller organisations, Blue Star Infotech (BSIL) plans to make available a booking solution that enables these companies to create an online presence at a nominal cost.

We will also see the better established travel and hospitality companies in India applying the techniques associated with business intelligence and analytics, that includes big data, social media, and mobile applications, to build stronger, longer, and more profitable relationships with their most loyal and repeat customers. Mobility solutions will help to engage customers dynamically by providing them real-time information based on their geo-location and profile characteristics.

How important is dynamic pricing for online travel players?

Pricing is a key game changer for any industry, including travel and hospitality. Dynamic pricing helps you to move away from cost-plus pricing mechanisms towards market supply and demand-driven pricing incorporating factors such as customer intelligence, profiling and segmentation of information into the pricing model and decisions. This helps in increase of yield. Dynamic pricing or dynamic yield management as it is sometimes called, requires a more in-depth awareness and understanding of the currently available market inventory supply, customer demand patterns and trends, competitor pricing, and other factors that affect supply and demand. The underlying principle behind dynamic pricing is based on the fact that sometimes it makes sense to increase prices to generate additional revenue when consumers are willing to pay a premium for a service, and in other instances it makes sense to reduce prices to generate demand for the service and/or take market share. By employing a combination of automation, real-time information collection, and analytics driven decision support, patterns and trends are observed in real-time by the revenue managers and this is leveraged to drive changes in pricing policies to yield higher revenues, gross margins and profits and minimise revenue leakage.

The ability to adopt new pricing in a real time basis is always a challenge for online travel providers (OTA). The reasons being the multitude of OTA players operating in the marketplace as well as the plethora of hotels they contract with – and often the same hotels contract with several OTA offering varying room prices. Therefore it is imperative that, in today’s dynamic and complex travel eco-system, the online travel providers needs to invest into a dynamic pricing system to retain their market share and grow it.

What solutions does BSIL provide for dynamic pricing?

BSIL is a well established travel technology solutions company servicing the global travel clientele for over 10 years. BSIL primarily focuses on the travel distribution eco-system and helps travel organisations by building future proofed technology solutions within their ever-changing business environment, reducing the increasing cost per booking, improving their sales per channel and enhancing their business processes to offer a seamless experience to their end customers. SmartDynaPrice is an advanced dynamic pricing and revenue management solution that BSIL offers. SmartDynaPrice provides online travel agencies and travel wholesalers a real time pricing tool capable of optimally pricing the product offerings to maximise revenue and gross margins based on market demand, competitor pricing and supply for specific travel products.

How big is BSIL’s business in India?

BSIL is currently developing a range of travel distribution solutions catering exclusively to the Indian travel organisations. Our clients in India include OTAs, tourism development agencies, tour operators and travel agencies. Around 30 per cent of our overall Indian operations come from this sector.

What plans does the company have to increase its market share in India?

BSIL is looking at aggressively expanding its market share in India and is offering a range of dedicated solutions for travel and hospitality industry players. Our target market is hotels, tour operators and online travel agencies in India. With ready-to-use solution frameworks in travel reservation system, BI/analytics, mobility, supplier connectivity and customer loyalty management, BSIL can dramatically reduce time to market as well as TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). BSIL has tied up with best-of-breed technology partners – Trisept, Netbiscuits, QlikView, Amazon, Loyalty Partner Solutions and Veritec Solutions to address various business needs of the travel industry.

BSIL’s offering for travel and tourism industry
BSIL has built a number of ready-to-use solution frameworks which can enable travel organisations to enhance performance and gain competitive advantage. Some of the solutions are:

  1. iBook Travel – An integrated booking engine for either hotels or OTA’s having multiple channels of sales using web, mobile and social media, where web and mobile solutions are interchangeable and interoperable.
  2. iConnect – The solution is a distribution aggregator framework, designed to integrate suppliers on a real time basis viz hotels, transfer, air, sightseeing, cruise, packages, etc. The solution can be configured to plug in any new supplier rapidly.
  3. Blue Loyalty Services – A solution to run customer loyalty programmes on multiple marketing channels. This helps to improve engagement with customers by creating personalised offerings and incentivising through reward shopping thereby leading to overall revenue increment per customer.
  4. iRoadGenie – An on-road mobile application that provides an online handy guide for travellers while on the move. Travellers can search for points of interest based upon their current geographic location or even areas that they would like to visit. The app also helps in providing detailed directions to destinations, their addresses, view pictures of the top tourist destinations and enable reservation/booking requests.
  5. TravelQlik – A Business Intelligence solution that enables a travel company to look at various operational performance indicators and trends, and enable in rapid decision making based on knowledge. It facilitates the evaluation of aspects such as channel performance, product performance, customer demographics, revenue trends, marketing spend analysis, etc.
  6. SmartTravelCI – A Customer Intelligence solution, that incorporates information from a variety of data sources, including retail POS purchase and shopping history, website logs, and third party demographic and psychographic data sources, to profile customers, segment them, and recommend product and service offerings, promotions and ads that are targeted at specific customer segments.
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