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Bid2travel prices are 30-50% cheaper than reputed online travel sites
Pritpal S. Saini, founder and director of Bid2Travel.com, says this is the perfect time for the launch considering that the travel industry is "transiting through the recessionary period".
"Everyone is searching and exploring for the new revenue channels and Bid2travel.com delivers the classic win-win situation....more satisfied guests and higher occupancy. We considered various factors before finalising this unique concept and the most important was to make a travel bidding site where nothing is mysterious or hidden from the travellers. Secondly, provide an online platform where customers and hotel owners interact directly with each other," says Saini, who is scheduled to speak at EyeforTravel's Travel Distribution Summit India 2009 to be held in Mumbai (October 6 -7) this year.
Saini, in an interview with EyeforTravel.com's Ritesh Gupta, spoke about plans for his new venture. Excerpts:
What is going to be your focus in the first year? What targets have you set for this online bidding site?
Our first year focus is to create maximum awareness about the existence of Bid2travel in the Indian travel industry. We intend to create a brand, offering honest hotel deals instead of cheapest deals which has the "condition apply" star tagged to them.
It's our responsibility to create awareness about the hotel bidding concept and if we successfully do that then we can get the respectable share in the Indian travel industry.
How do you think an opaque sales channel is expected to shape in the Indian online travel market as this juncture?
Everyone is looking at the best possible options for cost cutting including both the suppliers and consumers (individuals and corporate). Our model is solution for both the parties and without compromising on the quality and the brand reputation of the product.
We are creating a new space for online bidding in the travel industry because we are not competing against the OTAs. OTAs have an absolute different concept of selling travel services for the whole span of 365 days whereas we sell hotel rooms only for the next 14 days which remain unsold through all these traditional channels. This is the reason that on Bid2travel prices are 30-50% cheaper than the reputed online travel sites.
Our major challenge is to create a perception in the mind of people that it is very much possible to book room at cheaper price at last minute as well.
In other markets in Asia, it is being acknowledged that hotels and airlines are aggressively using opaque sales channels available online to effectively obscure the sharp rate discounting taking place as regional economies tumble. Such channel essentially pulls together the lowest room and air rate offered by vendors and package them for sale to consumers online. How do you assess this offering from dynamic pricing opportunity perspective?
In travel industry there are some major problems...where consumer are paying more because of the attitude of the hotelier.
Hotelier is also losing money when consumer does not buy these travel services because of the higher prices expected for the particular product/services.
We need to understand why this is happening and how can we market the product in a way which can offer the win-win position to both the industry and the traveller.
Bid2travel is a channel where consumers are getting rooms at lower cost but the hotelier is also happy because he can get away from the commission and fee of intermediaries which otherwise exists in other traditional sales channels. The supplier is generating the extra revenue from the hotel rooms which otherwise would have remain vacant.
How do you foresee your relationship with hoteliers in India for usage of this new online bidding site?
Along with consumers, hotels will also gain substantially from Bid2travel. This unique concept creates a complementary distribution channel that offers hotels the ability to reach out to a more price sensitive audience and to be able to sell rooms that might otherwise have gone unsold.
Behind the Bid2Travel scenes, there exists a strong revenue management science that combines marketing, analytics and customer relationship management for increased loyalty and profits for the hotel industry and this unique distribution channels comes free of cost for our partner hotels.
Are there any concerns which hoteliers have expressed and how are you addressing these concerns?
Not really, they have some queries because this has never happened before and it's the first time when they will be selling their vacant/UN sold hotel rooms through online bidding. But, once they are explained in detail about the benefits attached to it they are joining the same with positive hope and expectations.
Hotel owners are in the full control from start to finish on this site. The moment customer place a bid, it goes directly to the hotelier and he is the one who makes the final decision either to accept or decline the bid.
How do you intend to promote this site in the initial phase?
We have our in house SEO and SEM team to take care of the promotion for the initial phase. We have already got quite a lot of media coverage from the Indian print and electronic media as well.
Pritpal S. Saini, founder and director of Bid2Travel.com is scheduled to speak at EyeforTravel's Travel Distribution Summit India 2009 to be held in Mumbai (October 6 -7) this year.
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EyeforTravel is a media company specialising in business intelligence for the travel and tourism industry. Its was started by Tim Gunstone in 1997 as part of the FC group. The news website is one of the top three most visited travel trade websites globally and for over 11 years eyefortravel have successfully held travel marketing and technology events on 6 continents, providing an networking platform for thousands of travel companies.
EyeforTravel organises over 30 events per year globally dedicated to technology and online travel. Our flagship Travel Distribution Summits in North America, Europe, Asia and most recently India are the industry meeting places for travel e-commerce and technology executives in these regions. These events attract between 400 and 2000 attendees. Speakers include many of the industry's leading strategists and innovators and as such the events help to shape the future of travel distribution. In addition to the Summits, we also run numerous highly focused conferences on business critical topics including revenue management, social media, ancillary revenue, online marketing, internet content, distribution technology and more. Such is the popularity of these events that many are repeated year after year, and across all regions that we serve globally.
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