iXiGO – Indian Travel Search made simple…

iXiGO, the newest kid in “Indian Travel Search” town launched yesterday. It is a travel meta-search engine that aggregates content from 14 airlines and 3 travel search websites (makemytrip, yatra & indiatimes), and brings them to you in a pure Web 2.0 experience.

But, do I need another travel search website? Aren’t there too many already?
The Indian travel industry is on a boom. With so many airlines and so many VC-backed travel websites, the consumer can’t complain for lack of choice. On the other hand, the same is a real search pain. If I am a price conscious customer, I have to search across atleast 2-3 airline websites and 2-3 travel search websites to get the best price possible. I might have my preference for travel search sites, but I might also be missing some cool deals if I’m not doing this.

iXiGO is trying to solve exactly these end user pains via its travel meta-search engine.

How are they different?

  • Price Transparency – How much do you pay for a Rs.9 (Air Deccan) / Rs. 999 (MDLR) flickt? Atleast 1100-1250 more, thanks to taxes!!! Price comparison on travel / airlines websites really start on the final chekout page, 3 page navigations per site X 5-6 websites = about 15-18 page navigations before you can buy the least price ticket. iXiGO’s search, on the other hand, shows total prices (base + taxes)… All it takes is 1 page navigation on iXiGO for you to shell out the least money from your pocket.
  • Search Speed – A Bangalore-Kolkata one-way search took 5 sec for the first search results & 45 sec for the total search (across all available options). The same search on Zoomtra, iXiGO’s nearest competitor, took 15 sec & 75 sec respectively. You can take your pick 🙂
  • Breadth of Choice – 14 airlines, 3 travel search websites. Need I say more…

Are they competing with the other travel search providers?
Not really. iXiGO’s meta-search makes them yet-another distribution channel for the airlines / travel search websites, thus warding off direct competition. With time, when iXiGO takes off as a major inbound traffic provider, they could well be in a position to offer special iXiGO deals for their customers.

What next for iXiGO?
The following features top my wishlist, have been in discussions with iXiGO folks (they’re my juniors from grad school) to roll these out at the earliest…

  • Price comparisons within a date range (farecast???) – Would love to see prices within a range of say +/- 1 week around the intended travel date. Presenting this in a visually appealing format (e.g. graphs, etc) would be a great tool for the price-conscious customer whose travel dates are flexible.
  • Customizable low fare / deals alerts – Again for a price-conscious customer.
  • Tighter integration – Closing the search & purchase gap, can iXiGO take me directly to the final checkout page of the airlines & travel search websites.
  • Search on your mobile – On the internet, search on iXiGO & on one-click navigate to the purchase page. On the mobile, search is okay, purchase??? Can they integrate with a mobile payments provider – mChek, Paymate, etc – to complete the mobile search & buy experience.

What next from me? Look out for a podcast with iXiGO founders next, give them feedback here.

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