Expedia eyeing offline business
The group has joined hands with Track India to take the Travel Agents Affliate Programme (TAAP) to Tier-ii and TIER-III cities in the country.
Expanding its brand presence in India, the international online travel agency Expedia has decided to consolidate its offline presence here. Realising the importance of the offline business in the country, Expedia India has joined hands with Track India to take the Travel Agents Affiliate Programme (TAPP) to Tier-II and Tier-III cities in the country. Track India is the GSA for leading international low-cost carriers (LCCs) such as Air Arabia, Air Asia and Drukair. Boosting the utility value of the travel agents in the Track India network, they can now book hotel rooms, flight tickets, car rentals and tailormade packages from Expedia’s extensive global inventory on behalf of their clients. As part of this tie-up, Track India will issue credit cards to the network of travel agents, specifically for booking through Expedia.co.in. Talking about the new tie Vikram Malhi, Country
OTAs have come out of their reliance on flight bookings by becoming a one-stop service provider
Head, Expedia India elaborates, “Travel agents in the Tier-II and Tier-III markets generally transact business over cash, therefore, we were not able to leverage that market so far. With this tie-up, we will be able to penetrate this market. We also anticipate an increase in air ticket sales and hotel room bookings. Expedia India expects Track India to contribute 20 per cent of the overall TAAP bookings in India.”
According to Ram Bhupal, CEO, Track India, most of the agents in Tier-II and Tier-III cities are ownerdriven and are not financial experts. They are not comfortable doing business through credit cards. With this association, they can conduct transactions freely using credit cards on Expedia, he adds.
Talking about online travel agencies (OTAs) working towards positioning themselves as one-stop-service providers for all the travel needs, Malhi points out, “In the last few years, OTAs have come out of their reliance on flight bookings by restructuring business and moving towards becoming a one-stop service provider. OTAs are now covering the overall hospitality and travel space by offering international flights, hotels, international and domestic holidays, car rentals and so on thereby addressing the consumer’s entire travel needs. That’s going to be the way the OTA industry will progress and transpose in the next five years.”
As part of its enhanced investment in India, the group is setting up a global technology centre in India and will hire 300 people locally by end of 2013. The new facility in Gurgaon will primarily house employees working on sales and marketing, research and development, and travel supply support services for Expedia Group’s Expediabrand, Expedia.co.in, Hotels.com-brand and Egencia (corporate travel) businesses. According to Malhi, the new office is the largest facility for the group in Asia Pacific and the fifth largest globally. As the Research and Development (R&D) hub for the region, the new development centre in India will create travel applications for local as well as the global markets.
Country Head Expedia India