Internet travel industry in India experiences churn

Original Article: "Here is Another Travel Portal" – ContentSutra.com.

The travel industry is starting to look a lot like "bhel puri" (mixed up dish). XPlorz.com is taking an interesting position. They want to provide the ability to Pick, Pay and Print. The author on ContentSutra emphatically claims that this is nothing unique, that it does not change the position of either startup. I agree, they definitely are going to be competing with each other. They are targeting the same market, professionals who travel often, use the Internet and credit cards.

Don't be fooled though. XPlorz.com has moved quickly – they have their portal up and running. Unlike some of the other startups that the article mentions, they are not in stealth mode. I was able to pick a Jet Airways flight from Pune to Bangalore without much of a hassle.

What do the signs say? I would think neither of the existing operational portals have got it right just yet. Over the next year, the portals are not going to be competing on functionality. So what if I can pick my meal online? How important is that to me? All portals will be able to match the best of standards out there (see related links). They are going to be competing on size of the market – find and explore new dimensions first. Price – on the other hand, not so much, I would think their overheads will be similar.

For those who think the opinion is a bunch of crock, consider this, none of the portals offer cash transactions, or pay by cheque schemes. To put it lightly, 🙂 where does all the Black and Grey money go if the rich Indian businessman can't spend it on a plane ticket? Nevertheless, feedback is always welcome. Note that this is not to suggest that cash/cheque payments schemes encourage tax evasion. Neither do I want to recommend this as a method for tax evasion. Tax officials in India are known to be a lot smarter than that. If you have been buying a number of plane tickets lately when your disclosed income is just that of a fresh graduate of arts – expect a friendly note from them ;-).

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