KATHMANDU, Aug 25: For pleasure or work, Nepalis are traveling more than ever before. With the boom in travel, people increasingly want to compare ticket prices with the minimum amount of fuss and time. This in turn has led to travel agencies focusing on their business through online travel portal.
Arihantholidays.com recently launched its services, providing different travel products and services. Girish K. Jain, Managing Director of Arihant Group said, “We felt the need of the travel portal as travel agents are still not reaching the consumers.”
Jain said with the help of their portal consumers could simply log in the user ID and get the travel solution.
Officials of online travel portals opine that easy access to various choices in no time was the major reason for the attraction. They are also hopeful the growing access to internet and urban lifestyle was definitely going to help them get a good market share. Likewise, online travel companies are also equally focusing on inbound tourists, offering attractive packages.
Pallavi Sinha of mytrip2nepal.com said ticket booking could be made in two minutes whereas it might take hours while visiting a travel agent or while enquiring through a phone. “There is transparency in fares enabling the customers to know the fare option of airlines without the fear of being cheated. She said with online travel portal, customers can decide conveniently and easily.
Mytrip2nepal.com offers online booking along with online purchase through e-Sewa and e-banking.
The services of online travel portals are not limited to ticket booking and hotel booking. They are also offering railways and bus tickets booking, car rentals along with holiday packages.
Despite the emerging number of online travel portals they are not able to provide real time online sales because of the lack of government policy.
Biswash Bajracharya of Nextyatra.com said the online business of travel agency was limited to booking rather than purchase. “There is no provision of direct online sales at present because of lack of proper mode of payment,” he said.
The travel portals are mainly focusing on business to business meaning they are appointing other travel agents allowing them to share their portal. “After a month we are hoping to get credit card payment option in our website and targeting inbound tourists,” added Sinha.
Officials of the travel portal are hopeful that their business model would make traveling cheaper as well as easier. “ We believe that travel and tour experience is for everyone and our focus is more on making the travel affordable rather than luxury,” Jain at Arihant Group said.
Although the limitations in direct payment through online exists, online travel portal are making the best of technology. Jain said,“ People can compare the rates by viewing the required information online.”
However, most of the travel agents said the online service was more effective for ticketing than for tours. They said as for tours they need more detail information varying from a person to person and people were still visiting agencies directly rather than booking packages from home. Bajracharya said besides the information, clients also hope to get discount on packages.
He further said, “In case of tickets customers prioritize the time as the major factor and need is more urgent whereas for tours people plan during their leisure time and there is no hurry.”
The officials also point out to poor confidence as the other factor. They said that as it was the new trend people were slowly adopting it and were still skeptical about large volume of transaction.
“ Undoubtedly this is a new trend but we are hopeful to gain customers´ confidence with our reliable service,” added Jain.