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
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.