There are a number of online travel portals available today in India to make life easier while making travel or hotel bookings. As is always the case, the global portals could not make a dent in the Indian market, or they have been very late in getting into the action in India. It is now globally recognized that India has a big market for domestic tourism, and is also one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world.
So, it took several Indian startups to really make a mark on the travel market within India. Some of these have been around for quite some time now, examples being “makemytrip”, “cleartrip”, “travelguru”, “chacha” and “yatra”. Travelocity has recently started off.
I have been using makemytrip for my personal travels over the past 3 years or so, and occasionally I have also used yatra. I have been more satisfied with makemytrip till now.
Recently when I tried to make a holdiay booking, I found that makemytrip was not that responsive over the phone when I sought some clarifications. The person on the phone was also not clear about the package that was being discussed. Unfortunately, the tourist just gives one chance to any such provider, and I was surprised to find that makemytrip was not upto the mark, despite having gone public with a successful IPO recently. It reinforced my personal opinion that folks in the money lose concentration and focus – may be true or may not be true, well perception is reality. I am the customer, am I not ?
On the contrary, I found that yatra was much more responsive to my queries of all kinds, including provision of detailed responses to the nitty-gritty questions that a tourist is likely to raise in any such discussion. Neither was yatra annoyed with multiple questions or phone calls. Furthermore, the same person was dedicated to my requirement, till the end when booking was concluded. It is not surprising that yatra won the package from me.
The above episode does not indicate what I did with the other portals during this process. I contacted almost all of them, and was disappointed that they were not equipped to answer what I thought were rather simple questions. They do not deserve to be in the travel business.
Makemytrip has been successful in the flight booking area, and continues to do a good job in that business. However, they have to realise that “making my trip” is a priority which requires focus, attention and more than anything else, knowledge while the customer seeks answers over the phone. In fact, the makemytrip person on the phone did not even ask my phone contact numbers !
Well, there you go. Customer Service without contacts !!
Yatra did a fairly good job not only in answering all the questions though sometimes they had to make me wait and call me back with answers. But they did call back within a reasonable time. This showed to me that they are interested in my business and prepared to go to the length required to close the business.
Well done yatra. Keep it up, as such tests will continue from customers. When is your IPO ?
19th Sep 2010