Having served clientele ranging from Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Enterprise Companies, Airlines and Travel Mediatory across India, TripBorn Inc. is busy building State of Art Technology platforms for the Travel Industry in Innovation, since its inception in 2014. The Headquarters and Operations Office are located in Princeton, New Jersey and Ahmedabad, India, respectively.”
When high school friends Deepak Sharma and Sachin Mandloi met at a reunion after several years, they decided to go on a road trip. But little did they know, what awaited them in their journey. Both friends braved several hassles arranging the trip, but unfortunately, were unable to find a single platform or tool to procure an enjoyable travel experience. The school duo then set out to solve and deliver better Travel experience and Management in 2014, by founding TripBorn Inc.
Popularly known as a revolutionary and influential e-Market Place platform in the Travel industry, TripBorn is today’s most visible benchmark for “all travel needs” using web and mobile technology, most scalable platforms for real-world applications. Not only is the TripBorn platform, the first of its kind, but is also one of the most effectively managed and “well-policed” eTravel platforms in the industry today.
Making the most out of the current market opportunities
The travel and tourism industry has emerged as one of the key industries globally both in terms of growth and GDP contribution. While the western worlds have traditionally been the tourism market leader, new emerging markets such as India expects to witness higher growth rates in international tourist visits over the next decade. Rising purchasing power of middle class, changing lifestyles, better air, rail, and bus connectivity, and rapid adoption of smartphones continue to drive this market. Driven by factors such as rapidly growing economy, rising middle class, favorable policies and increasing foreign tourist arrivals, the country in fact, witnessed the fastest growth among the G20 nations in 2015 at 8.1%, followed by Saudi Arabia (7.9%) and China (7.7%). Owing to these factors, the total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to India’s GDP is estimated to reach US$275.2 billion by 2025 from US$136.3 billion in 2015. The travel and tourism industry in India, which comprises both domestic (85% of the market) and international inbound travel (15%), is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 12% to $27.5 bn in 2016 from $19.7 bn in 2013.
The current population of India is 1.3 billion, out of which 1/6th of the population is online i.e. 278 million (Q3 2014) says IAMAI data. India has the third largest internet population in the world, according to Google India 2017 will see 500 million internet users in India, leaving US behind and edging towards the numbers in China. India is a mobile friendly country; more people have mobiles than people having PCs. 44% of the India internet users use social media i.e. 122 million. Out of these 122 million, 75% (92 million) access social media via their mobile devices.
As travel becomes more democratized and more complex, customers need increasing help in navigating through the options. So a major focus of TripBorn’s efforts is to provide value to consumers and travel agencies which involves easing the search process and delivering to its customers solutions that enable them to present consumers with targeted options—product/service innovation with Big Data and Machine learning.
Facilitating seamless integration through API/XML/XMI with its suppliers and customers for various product offerings, TripBorn’s robust architecture delivers superior results at affordable costs by employing various analytical models and open source technologies in combination with SQL and NoSQL databases. These travel searches consider various variables such as distance from the customer’s specified preference, facilities, and the pricing deal compared to alternatives. In air travel search, TripBorn uses analytical models to ensure that prices displayed on its website are consistent with those on airline sites, since synchronization issues could occur across data sources.
A differentiated Travel Portal and Engineering Platform
“We plan to architect, design and implement the next generation, service-oriented travel portal to realize a classic business model with SOA (service-oriented architecture) paradigm. It would provide our customers with composite travel packages through dynamic composition among travel-related services from distributed providers and across business domains”, said the Founders.
Further, a comprehensive TripBorn service-oriented engineering platform (TBSOEPTM) will be engineered and customized for travel portals based on a comprehensive research of existing travel platforms from world leaders and it is consciously ensured that issues that tend to become the bottlenecks in these highly successful portals are redressed and the resulting platform will incorporate efficient system design and development to support complete life cycle of ticketing process for all modes of transportation and services around these modes to make easy maneuver ability and ticketing experience for all use case scenarios.
With plans to incorporate this platform on the cloud with advanced analytics supported by machine learning, deep learning and cognitive computing abilities, the company seeks to provide device independent user interface across all popular mobility devices with support for major regional Indian language support besides, English and Hindi.
“The platform will be driven by four models: service meta-model, process model, business model and global information model. These models support semantic description and rational operations of the application and facilitate travel service discovery, process execution and business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) integrations”, said Deepak.
Providing a professional implementation environment for service-oriented travel portal which will have extendable and scalable elastic design to rapidly add other revenue stream transactions and processes, the travel portal provides a real SOA application and well-defined business and service cases to provide a globally comprehensive platform, aiming to increase the portal’s manageability through the design of large granular services to be constructed from smaller ones, to split up a complex problem into smaller problems solved independently.
“It will thus be easier to add new services, update, replace or remove existing services without affecting the others. And it will be customizable for the service-oriented systems of other transaction types related to travel besides ticketing using a similar framework and approaches to those presented in TBSOEPTM platform”, added Sachin.
Plans for the days ahead
TripBorn Inc. will be filing its S1 Registration for listing in OTC market in the United States soon, and has plans to offer an Initial Public Offering in 2016. It has secured initial funding, and is planning for a series round of capital to be raised in order to fund its growth.
The company has technology and infrastructure in place to increase its market share with a huge opportunity that exists with the Indian Railways’ who has ambitious plan for modernization where 23 million tickets are sold every day. With this planned modernization of Indian Railways and the ancillary revenue opportunity that the Indian market provides, TripBorn will reap benefits out of it.
TripBorn is working on its plan to organize the highly unorganized Bus Travel sector where up to 15 million people travel every day using Bus/Coaches that is operated by State run Transport and private players.
It has built-in inclusive business model and technology to penetrate into the growing middle-class of India into rural and semi-urban market for its growth.
Q. What are the challenges faced by you and your team?
Deepak: “One of the biggest challenges in the online travel space is to understand the requirements of future travel agents or reps. They are not just responsible for itineraries and welfare but also are data analysts who understand customers in their remit from their online behavior as much as their facial expressions other than choice, price and schedule. OTAs need to manage increasing the diverse supply base by overcoming technological constraints to deliver smarter travel experience, authenticity of information and most importantly grievance redressal of customers. The growth of the Indian OTA market has attracted leading Global OTAs to the country. Leading Indian OTAs have been successful in capturing market share because they understand the psyche of local customers and customize their solutions accordingly. International players may however, take some time to understand the market and capture market share especially in building the distribution network given the diversity of the unorganized eco-system of Indian travel players. Low entry barriers, large market size and high levels of user acceptance continue to attract several smaller players to the OTA space. A lot of these new entrants resort to aggressive pricing strategies, heavy discounts and offers, high commissions to affiliates/vendors during sale period, which has resulted in significant pressure on the margins of players across the industry. There is low penetration of the online bus ticketing services segment in India. The online presence of bus operators would increase their visibility, since it would enable easier access to information for tourists. Although there is significant scope for expansion, the low adoption of technology by bus operators and the fragmented nature of the bus industry hamper growth. Players need to, therefore, quickly invest in technology or risk losing out on a significant share of potential customers.”
Sachin: “Managing hotel reservations and tour packages involve higher customer engagement as it entails managing relationships with numerous hotels and tour operators across India. And in the absence of effective management, if hotels and tour operators are not able to fulfill their commitments, the reputation of OTAs will be under threat for customers who book tickets through them.Till date, most OTAs have focused on the urban population due to the availability of Internet access and the presence of affluent people who purchase domestic/international air tickets and their reach is limited in rural areas and tier II/III cities due to low internet penetration and low literacy. Besides, although rising income levels have resulted in the credit and debit card penetration in India, their online usage is limited due to apprehensions about security online. Additionally, a large chunk of the Indian population does not have access to the banking services. Hence, OTAs should offer Cash on Delivery options to serve the large unbanked sector as well as to those who are apprehensive of making banking/online transactions.”
“Our Goal as a company is to enable smarter travel experience and have customer service that is not the best but LEGENDARY.”