Travel Industry roundup: ClearTrip launches Train Booking, France-based Sprice enters India

ClearTrip has launched train booking and is the first OTA to offer this service.

The site is neatly done (of all the web players, it won’t be wrong to say that CT has the best UI) and what’s really commendable is the presentation of information. For instance:

  • A single search provides users with train fares, routes and schedules simultaneously.
  • Displays multiple stations from a city instead of forcing users to search for specific stations;
  • Instantly compare fares from multiple classes such as AC 2-Tier and AC 3-Tier, letting them upgrade to a higher class of travel if they choose [ct blog]

Quick stats on Indian Travel Industry

Flight

  • Domestic air travel has registered a steep fall of about 40% during the last one year
  • Passenger demand growth fell to 3.8%,
  • Passenger load factors dropped to 77.6% – [Read oore on Threat to Indian OTAs]
    On Booking:
  • 90% of booking is done via the agents.
  • Around 35,000 agents and sub-agents will be forced to shut shop, because of commission erosion (starting October 2008).

Train

  • 9,000 passenger trains/17 million passengers travel daily by train
  • One of the most trafficked railroad networks in the world–over 18,000 trains operate daily – source
  • In the month of Aug’08 – IRCTC website recorded transactions worth Rs. 453 crores ! – details.

The equation is quite clear – OTAs need to expand into other modes of travel (“flight booking is just not taking off!“) – and be the travel planner (and not just a transactional site).

The monetization will come from services and of course, package deals – challenge remains the commoditized nature of this industry.

Whats your opinion?

Recommended Read: Indian Postal Department launches Ticketing Distribution – Threat to OTAs?

France-based Sprice enters India

Sprice has launched India portal – http://www.in.sprice.com/ that offers information on air fares, hotel rates and traveller reviewed hotels – though the current implementation shows only hotel reviews.

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