Travel and tourism sector in India is rapidly showing great innovations using mobile and internet technologies. There are few success stories we have in this domain, RailYatri is one of them.
Awarded and recognized as one of the best travel and tourism apps in 2014, RailYatri.in has many unique offerings for its users that make it stand apart. Some first-of-its-kind features include Seat Availability with Forecast which helps the users to make an informed decision while booking the train tickets by showing the probability of his ticket getting confirmed; Fare Calculator gives information about the train fare and its break-up for the selected train.
In an exclusive discussion with Manish Rathi, CEO and Co-founder, Railyatri.in, Faiz Askari of SMEStreet found some interesting trends in this area.
SMESTreet: What are the key attractions and unique offerings by RailYatri.in?
Manish Rathi: RailYatri mobile app, with intelligent personalization, provides users information relevant to their journey without them asking for it. GPS Train Locator, the much-loved feature, gives the exact location of your train on the go so you are never lost.
Apart from the above mentioned features, other features are Booking food, Ordering Taxi, Platform Locator, Share Trips which allows users to share the screen of their trip information with their friends and family, Speed Check to tell you the speed of your train at a given point and compare it with the scheduled speed in that section of the journey, My Trips where users can add their train trips and get all the information like coach no, platform no, trip sharing, food booking, taxi booking etc at one place. Another useful feature is Rail wisdom that gives information about the city the user is travelling to; places to eat, places to visit etc.
Also, Live Arrival/Departure shows all the trains arriving and departing from a particular station.
Live Train Status tells users about the exact location of a train and help users to compute the time it will take to their destination station.
SMESTreet: What is the biggest opportunity and challenge that you see in the space you operate in?
Manish Rathi: Despite being the second largest preferred mode of travel (after roads) for domestic travel market, Indian Railways travel segment remains largely unorganized. Indian train network, being one of the largest, is plagued with innumerable problems ranging from reservation status, train status, platform number to amenities available at a particular railway station, cancelled or delayed train information, trains arrival and departure information and organized trip planning. In addition to that, the unorganized market of food vendors, taxi operators are another challenge a train traveler has to deal with.
We see an opportunity in every challenge faced by train travelers in India. Train travel space in India is a highly untapped market. We have launched many new features based on user demand, such as Fare Calculator, ETA Prediction, Platform Locator, Seat Availability etc. We have also started meal and taxi booking through the app.
SMESTreet: What kind of traveler behaviour are you catering to? And how?
Manish Rathi: Every train traveler is our target audience. Mainly, our users are business travelers, daily commuters and middle to upper middle class families. The user community provides a unique marketing platform to services like taxi booking, ordering food, vacation packages and hotel reservations.
RailYatri.in strives to create a single-point knowledge gateway for rail travelers. From places of interest, train routes, real-time train schedules, trivia about cities, all the way up to third-party tie ups for taxis, food, hotels etc., we are creating a holistic travel-companion experience.
SMESTreet:: How do you ensure the collaborative user response?
Manish Rathi: RailYatri.in’s primary focus is on a Rail ‘Yatri’ i.e., the traveler; we focus on the end-to-end train travel life cycle of a user. What makes us unique is the deep understanding of a modern train traveler’s needs as they have evolved in the last few years and we have proven demonstration of successful innovations in the train travel domain.
RailYatri.in is India’s leading travel community that taps the collective wisdom of over 12 million daily long distance passengers on Indian railways. Our unique platform leverages crowd-sourced data and publicly available data to provide the most comprehensive information for train travelers (e.g., train status, reservation status, amenities, platform information, speed, trip planning, service disruption, new train announcements, etc.).
SMESTreet:. How and what kind of technology is being used?
Manish Rathi: Besides the mobile web, we also have Mobile apps – Android, Windows.
SMESTreet: How do you see the future years ahead for Railyatri.in?
Manish Rathi: RailYatri’s mission is to simplify train travel in India. Going forward, India’s online travel market is expected to show an 80% increase by 2015 to reach about $12.5 billion and increasing mobile usage is driving online transactions growth by about 30%. For now, we are targeting 10 per cent of the entire train travel community.