What are some of the latest trends seen in the travel/ hotel search patterns in India?
More than search, it is important to understand discovery in the travel space. Earlier, word-of-mouth and referrals by friends and family were the biggest sources of discovery. This has now naturally moved to social media and mobile.
What are the types of mobile applications that are used for travel planning?
Mostly search and discovery based mobile applications are used for travel planning mainly for exploring points of interest, planning, getting rates, etc. Except for air tickets, bookings for most of the part still happens offline.
What technology is the company investing in to provide travel and restaurant information?
We have invested in developing a platform that brings together mobile and social media capabilities. The platform itself is hosted in the cloud. It allows mobile and social solutions to be setup and delivered as a service. There is no upfront CAPEX thus bringing down the barriers to adoption. Even small companies and sole proprietorship have the same level of access to technologies, with simplified ease of use and access, as the large enterprises.
Consolidation of services has been the trend in the travel industry. Comments?
Mobile and social media allows direct customer relationships to be cultivated for both initial acquisition and ongoing engagement. Transactions may still happen through intermediaries, but mobile and social media make it possible to foster direct customer relationships.
What are the company’s future business expansion plans? Are there new products in the pipeline?
We will continue to invest in our platform IMImobile OPENHOUSE. We plan to bring highly targeted vertical applications for multiple industry verticals including travel, powered by OPENHOUSE. We use GPS, Cell ID based location identification technologies. We also use publicly available open databases of points of interest.
How do you differentiate the company’s offering with other players in the market?
We have a unified platform approach to customer acquisition and engagement. We have a multi-channel and cross-channel strategy blending mobile and social capabilities. Furthermore, we have a cloud-based delivery model with OPEX pricing. This is in contrast to the ‘point product’ fragmented approach currently prevalent in the industry.