Goomo Holdings Services (India) which had acquired Orbit Corporate and Leisure Tours in 2015, launched Goomo.com earlier this year offering flights, hotels, holidays, trade fairs, and homestays. “We will be launching bus, train, visa, activities, cruises and other products. From innovation point of view one of the things that we will do is encourage customers to go to their local travel agents, we will enable the customers to discover those travel agents on our website, which most other OTAs do not do,” said Varun Gupta, CEO, Goomo Holdings Services (India), adding, “If a customer who comes to our site is not comfortable buying a product online or through the call centre, they can seek the best advisor in the local market which we will help them discover.”
Goomo is both into B2B and B2C segments. “Today we distribute our products into the B2B market through backend technology that you don’t see – we are distributing to 5000 travel agents. By end of 2018 we will distribute to one lakh retail points,” mentioned Gupta. He believes that people who are in the travel distribution business, the lines between B2B, B2C, corporate are beginning to blur. He stated, “In the travel industry the product is the same (airline, hotels, trains, bus, visa, cars). The process of selling is largely the same, though there are differences in how the commercials work. It’s a business which is becoming increasingly tech enabled and requires pretty sophisticated technology in the backend. Given the investment in technology, most people find it can be leveraged across multiple channels – this is from distribution side. From customer side, there is no difference between an online or an offline customer.” Harmonisation of the channels and the ability to integrate the sales process across multiple channels is relatively new.
Speaking about the acquisition of Orbit, Gupta said, “Orbit has a legacy of 27 years and had a fantastic niche business with physical locations in 13 cities across India – an undisputed leader in taking large groups of Indians to trade fairs. We realised that it was a highly engaged customer that Orbit was dealing with and if we wrapped some technology around, it could scale up tremendously.” Reminding that about four crore people in India attend domestic trade fairs, and about 300,000 people travel for trade fairs outside of India, he said. “Again all of them don’t need packages. We have introduced technology where you can book travel to your trade fair online, in real time,” he added.
Goomo has acquired inventory of more than 100 trade fairs globally, which will increase to 1000 next year. It is also focusing on patterns of how many people travel to which trade fair to predict the demand.
Significant investment has also been made in the other business of Orbit – MICE, which according to Gupta has tripled since then. “From corporate travel perspective India will be among the top markets in the world. The nature of MICE in time will change, while there will be group travel, there will also be incentive travel more on FIT basis,”said Gupta.