Madhup Agrawal is the chief executive officer, HelloTravel, where he is responsible for the overall growth of this platform. He also provides technology leadership and business guidance to other group ventures of IndiaMART.com such as BizTradeshows.com, among others.
In June this year, for the first time in history, the G20 world leaders acknowledged that the Travel & Tourism sector as a vital driver for global economic growth and job creation, giving the industry a boost.
While globally the Travel & Tourism industry contributed to over US$ 6 trillion or 9 percent of global GDP, in India it accounted for more than $255 million 2011 as per World Tavel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) report ‘Travel & Tourism – Economic Impact 2012, India’. The report further states that the industry is expected to grow at an average of 4 percent annually over the next 10 years marking a contributing of 10 per cent of global GDP. By 2022, an estimated 328 million jobs, or 1 in every 10 jobs on the planet, would be from this industry.
Given this backdrop, there is an ocean of opportunities waiting. All we need is to understand the direction of wind and sail the boat accordingly to achieve new horizons of success. Staying ahead with new and upgraded technologies, observing domestic and international markets closely for emerging trends, taking bold decisions and challenging your own potential to innovate everyday will ensure a bright future in this promising sector.
The travel space in India has effectively adopted internet and has already been witnessing major contributions from this medium. The next step is to harness social media.
As per a recent report by Nielsen Company, social media is growing at 100 percent in India and is likely to touch 45 million users by 2012. Social media platforms allow travel companies to engage with their costumers and enable fellow travellers to share their experiences. These companies must now concentrate on ‘Return on Engagement (ROE)’ and capitalize it for knowing their customers better.
Creating and developing apps that are mobile ready and user-friendly could change the way world travels – smart apps for smart phone users as the user base is increasing rapidly. Enterprises should look at building travel applications for smart phones which integrate content with the traveller’s social graph as well as provide location-awareness.
The World has shrunk as human civilization has evolved, but there are still countless places and destinations that have not been discovered from travel & tourism point of view. The untouched, undisturbed and uncontaminated lap of nature is all what travellers desire for now-a-days.
A trend of a blend of adventure, leisure and rejuvenating activities is picking up pace, especially with the metropolitan and foreign travellers. Bungee jumping, hill hiking, forest walks, jungle safari, and many more like these are becoming a rage. Travellers are ready to pay if given intersting travel choices. The ball is now in our court and we better play it well by satiating the market demand.
Bringing back their personalized charm and touch to the travel plans/itineraries, travel planners are all set to capture markets via utilizing each possible medium promoting them across masses. Arranging from online tickets to designing customized itineraries, possessing strong local contacts thorough knowledge of the native culture, destination management expertise and providing a complete last mile delivery gives travel planners an upper hand in offering extra to offer to their customers.
This is particularly important because travelers want best value products with further value adds. Research and analysis give best valued products and services an edge above the rest in the market. Top-up offers or additional services that do not cost much but are very critical in influencing customer’s buying decision should be considered very seriously. Introduce them and see the difference.
We have crossed half of the year and I still see these factors as the most deciding and influential ones for travel companies in order to have a profitable present and a secure future. Adoption of technology and innovation with open arms is the key. Embrace them to mark a brighter era for travel industry in India.