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Indian Web2.0 Travel Portals: Comparative Analysis of Air fare search

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The aviation sector boom in India is reaching its peak. Lot of new domestic and International airlines have sprung up recently in India. The Air travel market is expected to grow at a brisk rate for atleast next decade.

This boom has created a big market for Indian online travel portals. Currently there are 8 to 10 players in the market competing for their pie. As most of them have come up recently they are still fine tuning their search capabilities. These new portals will get better as time goes by.

The travel portals in the fray are Make my Trip, ClearTrip, Desiya, Travelguru, Yatra, Ezeego, ETours Online, Indiatimes travel and IXIGO.

I carried out a small experiment to see which of these search engines give the lowest airfare for a particular route. Here are some of my findings.

I first tried to search the regular routes like Delhi-Mumbai and Calcutta-Chennai. What I saw was each and every search engine gave nearly the same results. So I decided to take 2nd tier cities. I first took Pune – Cochin, but some of them did not even have cochin listed.

So, finally the route I chose was Pune – Coimbatore round trip from 10th August to 12th August.

IXIGO Results

IXIGO Logo

IXIGO came across as a fast and real time search. They displayed the results fastest and were updated in real-time. If new results were cheaper they showed up instantly. I thought they were quite user friendly.

Here are top 3 results displayed by them for my query.

IXIGO top 3 results

The best result of IXIGO: Kingfisher for Rs 13,250.
Update: The rates have changed since yesterday, Today, when I try the same search it shows me Rs. 8346 as the lowest, which is quite impressive.

TravelGuru Results

travelguru-logo

Travelguru came across as a first generation portal. I would rate it average on user-friendliness, But when I saw the results, I was kind of pleasantly surprised, but at the same time skeptical… I was thrown the rates of Rs. 5626/-, which was like less than half of IXIGO. But after seeing carefully I came to know that they displayed only the rates for Pune-Coimbatore and gave only a tiny link to the Coimbatore-Pune flight, which showed me the rates of return flight. The cost there was 7780/- .

Travelguru-coimbatore-results Travelguru-coimbatore-results-back

I had to go through a lot of pain of adding both ways. I did not even find a link to go to the booking. I am sure it must be there somewhere, but it was not readily visible. They really need to work on their User Interface.

The best result of TravelGuru: Kingfisher for 13,406.

ClearTrip Results

Cleartrip - Logo I found clear trip to be pretty good in navigation and ease of use. They were the ones who did not have Cochin listed and thats why I had to go to Coimbatore instead.

They had a decent search page too. They showed both the way flights differently with different rates. But I did not have to calculate myself. They showed the lowest fare on top loud and clear.

Cleartrip - travel-results

The best result of ClearTrip: Kingfisher for 13,314.

EZEEGO Results

Ezeego Logo Ezeego came across as the the true Travel portal. It had a bit of Web2.0 feel and it made me look around for what they had to offer. The parent company for this travel portal is Cox and Kings. I expected them to be more expensive than others, but also knew that they will be the ones who will have very strong back-up support. Having Cox and Kings as a parent definitely helps.

But when I saw their results my Jaw dropped. The least amount that they quoted me was whooping Rs. 24027. I do not want good service to cost me so much. Definitely not !

I went through the whole process again just to check if I had done any mistake. But no the results remained the same.

Ezeego Search Results

The best result for Ezeego: Kingfisher for 24027.

Yatra Results:

Yatra logo

At Yatra everything was quite intuitive and the way it should be. The search took a bit of time, but it gave me much better results and that too with different carrier for the first time.

I was really impressed by their search. Here are their results.

Yatra Search results

The Best result for Yatra: Jet Airways for Rs. 11346/-

IndiaTimes travel

Indiatimes travel Logo

Indiatimes Travel had a familiar web1.0 look. Not good not bad either. The search result page came up quickly and gave good results too.

Here is what they had to offer.

Indiatimes travel Results

The best result for Indiatimes: Kingfisher for Rs. 12736/-

Make My trip

make my trip logo

Make my trip did not allow me to use the starting date of 10th August, so I left them alone. They seem to have too much traffic and do not want people booking flight so late.

Desiya Results

Desiya Logo I got a few errors with Desiya and the results showed me rates in dollars. I guess they cater to people in UK/ US more than India. hence, I decided to exclude them from this experiment.

My Thoughts:

It is difficult to judge or come to a conclusion based on just one search across multiple sites. However, from this particular experiment, it seems that Yatra has the best search algorithm and found the best deal and that too with a different Airline than all others. That also showed that you got to have tie-ups and partnerships with different carriers to get the best rates. It is obvious because Indiatimes gave me better rates for same Kingfisher flight. The newer search portals are quite user friendly and give you a much better user experience. However, when it comes to rates the older players still rule the roost.

It is also very important to have the best rates because Incredible India portal is putting all these travel portals face to face on their travel search. The one who gives the best rates will take majority of business.

It will be interesting to see how these new players compete with veterans like Indiatimes and Yatra in terms to Air Ticket rates.

Note: I have only compared Flight rates and nothing else. Most of them have discounts if you take their Custom packages.

If I have missed something here, please leave a comment and I will make updates here.

  1. Mahak jain says

    According to me http://Airticketsindia.com is the best Travel portal. It offers online travel services since 1998 and is one of the First Online Travel Portals introduced in India offering Cheap Air tickets , india travel packages ,Discounted Low airfares , Holiday packages to a very large clientele in India, UK, USA, Canada, Australia and Far East

  2. Train Traveler says

    agreed with you sudhir unchi dukan phike pakwan for yatra

  3. Traveleasy.com Team says

    Best fares n services in online travel trade
    we are the leading online travel agency.
    with the best and the latest travel portal in india.
    save upto Rs500/- on every booking.
    CHEAPEST AIR FARES ONLY WITH

  4. RAJ says

    Hi,
    I need Compative analaysis of air fare search in 2010 pls,

    Thanks & Regards,
    Raj gopal
    08008706054

  5. Nishant says

    You need to compare prices to http://www.zapbooking.com as they have the lowest airfare of the above. They are working on very low margins and the rates on most of the domestic airlines are the lowest.

  6. Consumer Court says

    Thanks for sharing your views, this is a nice method to compare price, and every indian must read this before booking any ticket online. this will surly help them and also help them to understand more about online shopping.

  7. travelbooker says

    Globaltravelbooker is the quick and simple way to book flight ticket online. It’s a protected, safe and new way to handle all flight reservation requirements you might have. You don’t have to go away from your workplace or residence to book and obtain your airline tickets without any price differences, postal charges or hidden costs.

  8. Deepti Singh says

    hey trakin,

    Above analysis has done in 2007….it would be better if u will do comparative analysis of 2008 as OTA’s comes with lucrative offers so compare according to offers also….waiting for the some more informative analysis….have a nice day……

  9. Sudhir says

    * Yatra has no concern for their customers*
    My experience with Yatra has been otherwise  Big names like Reliance and TV18 etc does not necessarily mean that the service rendered would be world clsss. While it looks nice to see things on their Portal, on the ground reality is different ! I had done Hotel bookings thru them this April for a family holiday in May and to my surprise even after the money was 100%charged in advance to my CC, I found the Hotels refusing to confirm the bookings. On notifying the anomaly to them, an11th hour attempt by Yatra yielded result and they found a hotel some 145 kms away from my destination ! Finally I had to search a hotel which was reluctantly booked by yatra but was still some 20kms from the downtown area and I had to pay thru my nose everyday for an up-down travel by taxi. One one such occasion we al had to walk 3 kms and face humiltion at the hand of Taxi drivers and seek help from police to avert a situation.In the other case, I was offered a very dingy cottage (one can call it a servant room) at a resort instead of a room booked and confirmed thru them. After hours long arguments, I had to check in at another hotel and pay thru my nose.
    The very purpose of going on a vacation with family, with advance bookings done, is to enjoy a hassle free vacation but that is the last of the concerns with the people at Yatra. Till date, despite so many reminders, Yatra has not even bothered to call back and apologise. Their sales manager Arpit Seth has no empathy for the poor clients. Net net, my vacation was royally sc***d and my family keeps cursing me for no fault of mine.

  10. Webmasters says

    Hi,

    We are a new start-up for young IT professionals. Can you please go through our website – http://www.ninthcafe.com & provide a feedback about it on your blog. We shall appreciate your reports.

    Regards,
    Team
    (ninthCAFE)

  11. Jeet Singh says

    Challenging role in a startup:
    ———————————-
    We are running http://www.samfra.com – a local search engine.

    We are going to launch a travel portal with great innovations.
    We already have some highly experienced people in the team.
    But, we need experienced people from travel, web marketing and technical
    domains.

    If interested or you know someone who can be suitable, send me a mail for more details at
    jeet232(at)gmail(dot)com
    Even if you are not in above categories, still we can discuss things.

    Thanks

    Jeet Singh
    9342141022

  12. Rajjan M says

    Why is the debate on pricing ?? The debate should be on customer/user experience. At the end the travel industry is growing at 271% and recuded pricing is not the solution .. Or is it ??
    Another interesting aspect is when OTAs launched they spoke about how easy it would be for us consumers to use them but with these horribble flashes , colours , glitters and clutter it confuses me more. I am looking for a partiucular trip why dont they just help me with that instead of this shinny page.. what the dont realize is my time is precious why would I hang on when I can move to a faster OTA. I think we stopped going to tradtional agents caused they confused us and we did not trust them how different is Makemytrip or Yatra they dont even show me the taxes.

    well this place is going to get more crowded and lets C who wins us .

  13. Neeraj Sharma says

    Ezeego1 ( http://www.ezeego1.co.in ) appears to be a fraud and con website and company going by all the reviews and my personal experience. There are numerous compliants about the discounts and cash back schemes they offer. In the most published ICICI Bank credit card cash back offer for airlines ticket booking they promise cash back upto 50% which as per their terms and conditions should happen in 7 days has not happened even after 14 days. There are many negative feedback given by users on websites like mouthshut.com etc. Here are few links.

    http://www.consumercomplaints.in/complaints/ezeego1-cash-back-offer-scandel-amp-major-correction-on-booking-site-c22463.html
    http://broadbandforum.in/everything-else/19003-ezeego1-com-frauds-scamsters-cheats/
    http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/ezeego1-travels-ltd-mumbai-c30788.html
    http://business.techwhack.com/3237/ezeego1/

    Many emails and phone calls to this company were unanswered.

    I would suggest people beware of this company and go with other sources for booking tickets.

    – Neeraj Sharma
    Booking Reference:EZR-2007-316556/A Booking Mode : Online

  14. Linda says

    [….]If u check travelfaa has got cheapest fare of go air.I found this one to be extremely useful…been always curious about which one is the best…thanks[…]

  15. Abhay says

    I have been using Yatra.com, makemytrip.com and http://www.cleartrip.com for the past two years, in my experience, cleartrip.com is the best.
    – From Easytripinfo.com

  16. Sudeep says

    Ezeego1 – Good to see iXiGO, Yatra and trak.in having a good influence in finding correcting all your “technical errors”

  17. Team Ezeego1 says

    Our Technical team has found the error due to which the wrong results were displayed. We now have the right results displayed.

    Would also like to highlight an important feature that can be used as a very effective search tool for return flights. While defining the search parameters for a return flight, we have an option where you can choose to see results of the outbound and inbound journey on different airlines.

    This feature gives the user flexibility to choose flights which suit his time and budget.

    We thank you once again for your valuable feedback.

  18. Jitesh says

    Dude – the world is waiting for your new, and deeper, analysis of all travel sites :-)

    – Jitesh

  19. Sam says

    I am surprised to see a big player like Arzoo.com not being featured here. The site was launched much before than the couple of sites featured here.
    Fares on Arzoo.com are usually quite competitive. It would have been interesting to see how does arzoo fares fare in your analysis.

  20. trakin says

    Hello Avinash..Thanks for dropping in a line. I will surely look at travelocity in my next travel coverage which I am planning to do by this month end. That will cover more areas than what is covered here.
    If you have seen the recent Times of India article, you will know my name :).

  21. Avinash says

    Been subscribed to your blog for sometime & still trying to figure out your name..:-)…guess will keep Trakin’…friend of mine recently mentioned that she works at Travelocity which is a travel portal (http://www.travelocity.co.in/web/content/in/index.html)…maybe you can cover it in the next article…I found this one to be extremely useful…been always curious about which one is the best…thanks

  22. Team Ezeego1 says

    We thank you for bringing the same to our notice.

    Our Technical Team is investigating the matter. We suspect that the high fares displayed for the Pune-Coimbatore sectors might be on account of a bug in the system or the fare having been wrongly filed by the GDS.

    We are working towards resolving the same at the earliest.

  23. Sam Annette says

    hi……… i would like you to visit arzoo.com which was not included in the list of competitors …………… in the recent comparison time if u check arzoo has got cheapest fare of go air and Air india…. its Hotboy Sabeer’s company so let’s hope we can get some hot deals…. what say….

  24. Priya says

    Hey…I just saw a similar site http://www.zoomtra.com. Its a great comparative analysis site for Air fare. The best part is, not only it fetches fare from Airline but also from online travel sites like Indiatimes, Akbar Travel and so on. Another very helpful feature that this site provide is that you can set your customized alerts .The site ask user to provide the sector & month they want to travel along with budget. When ever any flight matches users criteria ( budget), an email is sent to the user along with all the flight & fare details. I found this feature amazing for planning ones travel in case one is flexible with his travel dates.

  25. iXiGO Team says

    Thanks for the update trakin :-).

    Sometimes, our search takes long if a few providers (notably IndiaTimes or JetLite) take time to respond to our query, so if one stops the search or interrupts it for any reason, it might not be able to find the cheapest combination option.

    We would love to see a more thorough analysis with many origin-destination pairs on multiple dates (table like)

    Very nice comparison of pros and cons though.

    Regards,
    iXiGO Team

  26. trakin says

    IXIGO team,
    I see now that the rates are changed. WoW…and all the rates seemed to have changed too…
    Surprising, that when I tried yesterday, it gave me 13,250 as the lowest. You seemed to have signed some deal with Indigo / Kingfisher yesterday..Is it ? just kidding. :) (These rates are very sensitive to time when you do the search, hence it may not be too prudent to compare the rates right now, or else I will have to update for all of them as of now. However, because as time passes rates should go up instead of down, unlike yours,I will make the update)
    But yes, if those are the rates, it is impressive. I will be doing this kind of experiments on regular basis, so it will be interesting to see what happens then
    Sumedh,
    Absolutely right, all the other policies and services are important too in decision making process. But this was purely a ticket fare comparison experiment. I will be reviewing some of them individually in coming days. You will then be able to compare other sevices too.
    Nina,
    If that is the case, I stand corrected. However, I will confirm and make necessary update if that is true. I used Yatra in 2006, however I had not heard about Cleartrip till Feb of this year. Thanks Nina for pointing it out to me.

  27. Nina says

    Hi … Was curious to understand where do you get your info on who is new and who is old??
    To my knowledge Cleartrip was launched before Yatra i.e in July 2006 & Yatra in August 2006 :-)

  28. Sumedh says

    It would be very interesting to know about how their other service compares…

    For example, cancellation charges…recently we had an experience where my friend wanted to postpone his journey date…and the date was just 2 days after currently booked…(both the dates were 1 month ahead of current date)…but the portal required extra charge of cancellation and again charge for booking…and wastage of current booking’s charges…!!!

    IMHO, more than 2-4% difference in the ticket pricing, these kind of issues will determine the winner…

  29. iXiGO Team says

    There seems to be a discrepancy in the prices you quote that you got from iXiGO.

    Try this: http://www.ixigo.com/search/result/flight/PNQ/CJB/10082007/12082007/1/0/0

    We have a return ticket at Rs. 8346 as of Thursday (9th) morning.

    Regards,
    iXiGO Team.

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