A new breed of OTAs bet on social, can they fly?
TravelTriangle, one of the online travel agency was founded by Sanchit Garg (alumnus of IIT-Bombay)
The OTA (online travel agency) space is one of the first few e-commerce segments in India that has witnessed successful traction-building by a ‘paid’ consumer Internet business (surely there are job portals, entertainment and e-mail service providers, but then, they didn’t build their business models on getting consumers to pay online). It is also one of the more mature segments of online business in the country with a handful of large players, such as NASDAQ-listed MakeMyTrip, as well as VC/PE-backed firms like Yatra, Cleartrip and Via. Logic would, therefore, say that it is a no-go for startups as they can’t possibly hope to innovate from the scratch what the established players have been doing for years (some of the global OTAs have also realised it after making a late entry here).
TravelTriangle: Time to customise travel package
Set up in July 2010, it is a travel marketplace where one can search for and customise destination-specific packages. The platform connects a user with select travel operators active in or around that specific destination to help customise the travel package as per requirements. What follows is a round of customisations and negotiations in which the customer can change every aspect of the journey as per his/her needs while tour operators try to bid against each other to give the traveller the best deal possible.
For instance, if you are going to Kerala, you can add ‘night at a tree house’, ‘visit to spice markets’ or ‘participate in local dances’ as part of your customised tour. The company also provides ‘money safe’ guarantee for all the bookings you make on this platform. While travellers get the services for free, travel agents have to pay the company customer acquisition fees.
TravelTriangle was founded by Sanchit Garg, Sankalp Agarwal and Prabhat Gupta (alumnus of IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Guwahati, respectively). Garg had earlier worked with Yahoo; Agarwal had a stint with Adobe Systems and In Focus Technologies while Gupta had worked with Oracle.
“Right now, travel agents provide hefty commissions to B2B agents who bring them customers. We are trying to structure this process and eliminate the middlemen by connecting travellers directly to tour operators,” said Sanchit Garg, while explaining the rationale and revenue model behind the business. The OTA currently generates revenues of Rs 30 lakh a month and is targeting close to Rs 3.8 crore for FY13.