Roombookpro was launched by Dex Holidays in early 2013 to cater its B2B clients as an all inclusive accommodation booking solution. Dex Holidays is an established leading Outbound Tour operator in India, which has its roots in the Indian travel industry since over 50 years.
In this exclusive India Tourism Review interview, Vidur Singal, CEO, Roombookpro.com tells Aishwarya Singhal about Roombookpro, its features and scope. He also tells us how the product differs from other similar products in the market.
Tell us about Roombookpro. When did you officially launch in India?
Roombookpro.com (RBP) was launched in early 2013 by Dex Holidays to offer an all inclusive accommodation booking solution to its B2B customers across India. Dex Holidays is a leading Outbound Tour Operator and is part of the Dex Group which has its roots in the India travel industry for over 48 years.
What are the salient features of roombookpro India? How is your product different from other similar products in the market today?
- RBP is the “fastest” Hotel booking solution amongst its competition
- RBP offers Live room inventory and rates of over 150,000 domestic & international hotels / apartments
- A “Street view” function which allows agents to have a real view of the street where the hotel is located
- Excellent off-line support for our travel agency customers
- We are purely B2B, and as a policy do not offer our system access to direct customers or corporates. We intend to protect the interests of our travel agency partners
- RBP allows travel agents to email hotel information, rates & availability directly from the system to their clients with their mark-ups, hence minimizing / eliminating the need to type out separate emails by cut/pasting data. This offers a huge value add to our agents by saving their booking process time and increasing efficiency
- Pay at hotel check-out option, which helps ours travel agency customers to offer their clients a similar offering to what they might get from B2C giants like Expedia or Booking.com
- Multiple currency pricing
- Multiple payment options – credit card, net banking, credit
- XML to travel agents who have their own websites
With so many B2C portals for booking hotels online, how do you plan to position your product?
RBP is purely B2B, and in fact we see many of our travel agency customers (or potential customers) having an online presence. We offer XML solution to them, wherein by partnering with RBP they get access to multiple Hotel aggregators all under one-roof.
We see growth in online hotel booking portals as a huge opportunity for ourselves.
What has been the response to your product in the market thus far? How many agents have opted for your service?
We have signed up over 100 travel agencies in Delhi / NCR region in the last 4 months including some very big names, which we are very excited about. Our goal is to increase our customer base to 300 travel agencies in North India within 2013, and by 2014 expand on pan India basis.
Tell us about White-labeling option offered by Roombookpro. How does it help the travel agent to compete and maintain their authenticity and reliability?
Travel Agents today need an online presence. Not only that, they need to offer their customers a technologically sound product at competitive prices to be able to compete with the B2C online giants. Our RBP system guarantees the best deals from across the world by integrating content from multiple GDS’s / hotel aggregators. All this is packaged in a simple to use, clutter free interface. We also make sure that at no point the sovereignty of our travel agent customer is compromised – and that their company branding, logos and information is upheld throughout the “white label” solution. Our system acts only as a back-end facilitator.
Tell us about your business model.
RBP caters to the travel agent fraternity in India. Our primary customers are Travel Management Companies (TMC), Travel agents , Online travel portals in India. RBP provides multiple payment options to travel agents such as cash deposits, credit (in lieu of bank guarantees etc), net banking & credit card payments.
RBP has integrated information, rates and availability of over 12 of the world’s largest hotel aggregators. Through our search results,an agent can procure the best rate (which is always displayed on top) from all these systems, and is therefore ensured the cheapest rate from across the world. RBP also provides a “one window” solution to the travel agent who otherwise would have to contract separately with all international / domestic aggregators working on different currencies and stringent financial requirements. We believe RBP offers a win-win solution for Travel Agencies who are now focussing more on selling hotels, packages and reducing dependency on selling air tickets.
Are there any plans to expand your product offering beyond hotel booking?
Yes, most definitely. Our strategy is to add non-air content such as sightseeing tours, airport transfers, activities (show tickets, entrance passes to tourist attractions), car rentals etc. We are also contemplating adding dynamic packages inventory for Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, and Mauritius to our portal.
What challenges have you faced in distributing your product? How have you overcome them?
Ours is a B2B online product. As the penetration of Internet is less in mini-metros and Tier II, III cities , we have tried to overcome the same by personally visiting the agents and giving them a hands on trial of the product. Some agents in Tier II, III cities are skeptical of using an online system, to tackle this problem we offer 24/7 offline support for hotel bookings to all our agents.
In numbers more than 800 million users in India prefer mobile channels and this only will grow with time. Do you plan to offer mobile application of your product to travel agents?
While travel agents may not use mobile phones to book for their clients today, they may in the future and we will be prepared to offer a mobile solution to the market if we see the requirement.