Have you ever wondered, what could be the best way to search and transact over mobile phones? A senior railways (read IRCTC) official once had asked me about how one can possibly show hundred or more destinations on a ticket booking form on the mobile phone. Here is how it can possibly best be done – have a search bar and not a reservation search form at all ! So, typing ‘from bangalore to mumbai 5 september’ should show you a combination of flights and trains that you can take to go from Bangalore to Mumbai on that date.
90di Internet, the creator of this search engine for travel in India showcased their product at HeadStart earlier this year. Implementation of routing algorithms to show a combination of travel routes, which include train and air travel is a novelty in the online travel space. This is very useful for users who wish to travel between places that are only partly connected by air.
90di’s search bar is probably also a better way to serve up related services such as hotels and local travel services to users. With zero commissions looming over travel agents in India for flight bookings, the ability to sell more and more of high margin services such as hotels will become all the more important.
I spoke to Khusnood Naqvi, 90di’s founder, only yesterday and the key challenge for them now seems to be in executing the business model which relies on integration with the carriers and the railways. As of now, 90di is a referral engine much as Ixigo and Zoomtra are. 90di is also looking to raise a small investment.