Sports Tourism fast com­ing into play

It launched a B2B por­tal only in Fe­bru­ary this year but it has al­ready set its sights high. Fans On Stands part­ners are look­ing to sign up more than 400 agents in the next few months by cre­at­ing aware­ness about the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of sports tourism amon

TravTalk - India - - Agents - HAZEL JAIN

In its sixth year of op­er­a­tions, Fan­sOnS­tands.com was a purely B2C prod­uct un­til early this year when it launched Fan­sOnS­tands Sports (FOSS) Part­ners ex­clu­sively for the travel trade in Fe­bru­ary 2015 at the Global Panorama Show­case in Nag­pur.

Speak­ing on why this move, Arun Raghu, Direc­tor, FOSS, says, “Re­tail­ing to cor­po­rates and HNIs was our core busi­ness but we used to get a lot of agent queries as well. Even­tu­ally, we de­cided to syn­er­gise with them. Agents are good at what they do and we are good at what we do and it would be an­other rev­enue chan­nel for both.”

The B2B plat­form — FOSS Part­ners — gives the reg­is­tered agents com­plete ac­cess to the ticket in­ven­tory world­wide. Raghu ex­plains, “We de­cided to de­velop a plat­form wherein the agents could get ac­cess to ev­ery­thing with­out go­ing back and forth with us. The por­tal is sim­ple and very easy to use. Ev­ery time we sign up an agent, our team vis­its them for train­ing. We also have reg­u­lar work­shops and are work­ing on in­cen­tive pro­grammes for the owner as well as the counter staff.” The por­tal has a pay­ment gate­way for which FOSS sends an au­to­mated link against the in­voice for the ful­fill­ment. It has all three op­tions: cheque, RTGS and card pay­ment.

Out­lin­ing geo­graph­i­cal po­ten­tial points, Raghu ear­marks Tier 2 cities as hav­ing big chunks of prospec­tive cus­tomers. “Un­for­tu­nately, only a small per­cent­age of this is aware of such prod­ucts. We will now be fo­cus­ing on cre­at­ing aware­ness in places like Nag­pur, Chandi­garh, Kol­ha­pur, Coim­bat­ore, Kochi, Ahmed­abad, Bar­oda and Su­rat. We will close this gap and get closer to the cus­tomers through our agent part­ners,” he says.

Ex­plain­ing their plans for this year, Afraaz Masters, Se­nior Project Man­ager of FOSS, says, “Over the past cou­ple of months of launch­ing FOSS Part­ners, we have taken the time to un­der­stand the feed­back we get from our part­ners and we’re work­ing on a new re­lease that would in­cor­po­rate a num­ber of fea­tures that would help the travel agents com­mu­ni­cate de­tails of events to their cus­tomers and al­low them to be able to pack­age these events bet­ter.”

The com­pany is cur­rently fo­cus­ing on mak­ing the In­dian travel in­dus­try sit up and take note of how sports tourism could be a se­ri­ous con­trib­u­tor to the out­bound tourism mar­ket if pushed ap­pro­pri­ately. “We firmly be­lieve that FOSS Part­ners is the per­fect tool to do that. We are look­ing to sign up over 400 agents across met­ros over the next few months,” Masters re­veals.

The pop­u­lar­ity of sports tourism is ev­i­dent by the num- bers it did for the ICC World Cup. With­out di­vulging num­bers though, he says, “Our strat­egy for the World Cup was to fo­cus largely on sell­ing hos­pi­tal­ity tick­ets to our net­work of cor­po­rate cus­tomers and ser­vic­ing any in­com­ing queries through our B2B plat­form.”

What’s next? “We are com­pletely fo­cus­ing on Sin­ga­pore F1, BNP Paribas WTA Fi­nals in Sin­ga­pore fol­lowed by the UEFA EURO 2016. The com­mis­sion on the Grand Prix tick­ets will be be­tween seven to 15 per cent,” Masters adds.

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