Tourism has become an important sector which helps immensely in the development of the nation. Tourism in India is growing rapidly and is very important economically. This sector accounts for more than 7% of the nation’s GDP and supports more than 40 Million jobs in India. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), this sector is growing at an average annual rate of 8%.
At present, 70% of India’s eCommerce market is travel related and is doing more than $15 Billion annually. Travel industry has faced many challenges over the past decade. But thanks to the technology and various ventures, this domain has adapted and evolved according to the need of the market and has reached where it is today.
But it was not always the same.
Early 2000’s.. The Rise of Travel eCommerce in India!
In the early 2000, when the Indian audience was much less tech savvy, IRCTC brought the wave of eCommerce in India by launching its first transactional website.
The second key factor was the introduction of Airline e tickets. This was the time when the market dynamics started changing from traditional offline travel agencies towards OTA’s.
This was the first time when Indian Audience got the convenience of booking their train tickets, airline ticket and hotels with just a few clicks. Since then there is no stopping and the online travel industry has seen many ups and downs.
Where Do we Stand Today?
Over the years the travel Industry has evolved and so has the eCommerce market. Today, in a country, which now has the world’s second largest number of internet users (after China), online booking of travel plans have become more convenient now.
The traffic and transactions from mobile apps and mobile websites are on the rise. Many OTA’s are now observing more than 50% of their bookings through Mobile Apps and Mobile websites. The main drivers of this growth are:
- Better Technology
- Increase in Internet Penetration and Mobile users
- Growing Credit/ Debit card penetration
- Increasing disposable income of the middle class
- Introduction of Mobile Wallets
“For the first time since the European Renaissance, the locus of travel is moving eastwards. Watch out for the rise of Asia, that cauldron of teeming humanity, that is Very Mobile and Very Social.” – Skift
While the Airline and Hotel markets are now organized with the help of GDS, many OTA’s & hotel booking portals, the third and one of the most important segment which is still highly fragmented is the In Destination Tours and Activities market.
With no online established brand in India & Asia Pacific, this segment still has a vacuum with no transparency and very limited options. The travelers are now growing experimental and are ready to spend on unique experiences. This sector still holds the potential and still needs to be worked upon. The tours and activities market is still looking for a Big Star.
The Future of Online Travel!!
There’s still space for expansion in the near future owing to the penetration of Smartphone & internet. The future of Online travel industry can be defined as ‘Personalization and Convenience’. The travelers are ready to pay more for their convenience and personalized experience. This can be achieved using Data analytics and Big data. By analyzing the data one can know that where a traveler might like to travel or what the traveler might want do in the destination and hence offer the services more suitable to the traveler.
The technology will be playing a major and a crucial role in the advancement of the industry.
Right now, at this moment people are working on complex technologies and it is very much possible that 5 – 10 years down the line the e-commerce focus would start shifting from Smartphone to a newer technology like Google Glass or a similar tech.
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