Customizing your own holidays- The Next Game Changer: Sumita Tulsiani, Co-founder & Director, TravelDilSe
The percentage of online dynamic package holidays bookings is expected grow to 46% by 2023 writes Sumita Tulsiani
The Indian travel and tourism industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors and has achieved a considerable scale. According to April 2019 report from Bain & Company and Google India, Indian travellers took approximately 2 billion domestic and international trips in 2018, spending nearly $94 billion on transportation, lodging and consumption during their travels. The travel and tourism industry is the seventh- highest contributor to GDP and has increased from 6.7% in 2013 to 9.4%, nearing developed market levels such as the UK’s 10.5%. The market is expected by grow by 13% CAGR to $136 billion in 2021.
According to Phocuswright’s India Online Travel Overview, “Indians, particularly the middle class, are traveling more than ever. The average Indian online traveler took three leisure and four business trips in 2017.” As Indian consumers become more accustomed to turning to their digital devices for travel inspiration and research, they are also beginning to use them more for booking travel as well.
Holidays have always remained an integral part of the online travel ecosystem. Travelers especially millennials go beyond the typical touristy things. They look for personalised travel experience over regular ones and prefer designing their own itinerary.
Nearly 40% of the travellers start the process of planning a trip about 30-60 days in advance. However, planning a holiday is complex as it involves air tickets, accommodation, transportation, meals, sightseeing, activities, visa & travel insurance.
Around 42% of travelers spend average 6-10 hours on researching online about the destination of travel and also on how to go about planning their tour. They prefer building their own package and book all components of travel by themselves. They scout around 15-20 travel websites on an average to compare rates and other parameters before finalising their travel plan. While majority of them spend a lot of time researching online, only 20% of them book it directly owing to cumbersome process of managing and booking different services viz flights, hotels, transfers, activities, travel insurance on different websites. Rest 80% approach the offline travel agents. While the 20% get huge advantage on pricing for booking it online (almost 25-30% cheaper than booking through an offline travel agent), but the pain of coordinating with various partners and vendors ruins the actual experience of a holiday while on ground.
To help these 42% of travellers book their packages hassle free online, a fresh wave of new emerging platforms can be seen that offer custom solutions to travellers, where they can not only plan, build, personalise and customise their own tour packages but book it immediately with instant confirmations. These platforms provide real time inventories with best online pricing to the customers.
Hence these new age travellers started opting for platforms that can offer services of a virtual travel specialist to plan their tours, provide all components of travel (flights hotels, transport, activities, visa and travel insurance) under one roof along with value for money compared to other individual online players. These platforms also act as the only point of contact for customers in case of any on tour issues.
These platforms are referred to as DIY (do it yourself) or dynamic e-customised holidays planning and booking engines that provide users the freedom, flexibility and control to build perfect tailor-made holiday experiences worldwide. The portals are powered by robust algorithms and AI that simplifies the entire planning and booking process and makes it very consumer-friendly for the user. They also take into consideration the user preferences and provide recommendations using machine learning.
The percentage of online dynamic package holidays bookings is expected grow to 46% by 2023.
Dynamic packaging involves: flexible product sourcing, automated bundling, extended inventory, real-time pricing, targeted upsells, customer support, online price comparison, online distribution and more.
The combined advancement of voice recognition and artificial intelligence might impact the traditional search and booking process we know today. Learning algorithms already offer new services in terms of personalization. Truly Dynamic packaging-real-time availability with real-time-pricing-is what will take the online travel industry forward over the next decade and technology will be the impetus.
Hence it can be rightly concluded that dynamic packaging is the next game changer on the online travel space.
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