90di travel search blog

Archive for November, 2009

Where online users in India go to book their flight and train tickets?

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

First up the Greeting:

To you dear users, who took part in our survey: A big ‘Thank You!’. Now please go ahead and look up the survey results, Ye enlightened ones! 🙂

The rest of dear users/readers: We ran a survey on our site to find out, where people book their train and flight tickets, after they have searched their train and flight here on 90di site. We got around 1000 responses and below are the results.

For flight booking, figure 1 shows the results below.

90di flight booking survey results

Figure 1: 90di flight booking survey results

Not surprisingly the Airline sites are the most popular place for travelers who book their tickets online, with a lion’s share of 54%. This is followed by OTAs then Travel Agents. Flight booking through other sources meant – booking through their corporates or booking via Airline counter. Big surprise was that a significant 17% of people, book their tickets through travel agents (after searching online).

Some inferences from the flight booking survey data:

1) Perhaps the survey reflects the dynamic nature of Air-ticket pricing. As people want to get the best-deal, from whichever option they can get, they go to multiple sources. Hence Travel Agents score surprisingly high, quite close to OTAs (23%)

2) People are using OTAs too for search, primarily. To be honest, Travel search is still establishing itself in India, and perhaps there is an issue of trust (in terms of whether it really is comprehensive and the cheapest). So people do end up searching an OTA site along with a travel search player like us.

3) But one thing is clear, that given a choice, people would eliminate the middlemen and go directly to the source and book i.e. the Airline in this case. Makes for very good common sense too.

Over all: It does make a very good business case for travel search players like us. When most of the people like to book with Airline site directly. And of course everybody would want to compare their options, hence the need for travel search.

Now lets look at the train booking survey results (Figure 2 below):

90di survey train booking graph

Figure 2: 90di survey train booking graph

IRCTC website had a whopping 82% of market share in online bookings. Leaving quite little for Travel Agents and OTAs, with 8% and 5% respectively.

Key Inference based on train booking survey data:

Static pricing of Indian Railways, shuts the door on all the other players. And there is not much scope of adding value to the traveler, atleast as far as pricing is concerned. Means that once the traveler checks the availability and the price (which is also kind of known beforehand), it makes sense for the traveler, to book their tickets with IRCTC, thereby even saving on some service charge, with OTAs or travel agents might apply.

Would love to hear, if you are able to make any useful inferences, from this data we have. As for the proof that we actually did the survey, and not made this numbers up, here is a screen shot of the survey page.