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Interview with Manish Amin, Co-founder and Chief Information and Technology Officer, Yatra.com

October 30, 2018

Interview with Manish Amin, Co-founder a...
In order to enhance user experience, deliver better output and improve business efficiency, enterprises in the travel and hospitality industry are making concerted efforts to leverage technologies such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud. Big data analytics seems to have emerged as the key disruptor in this sector as it helps companies better understand the behaviour and preferences of travellers, and accordingly come up with customised service options. While these technological advancements have provided several benefits, the deployment and management of these ICT solutions is laden with challenges such as heavy capex and opex, maintenance and management of the requisite infrastructure, and the need to stay updated with the rapidly evolving technological space. Manish Amin, Co-founder and Chief Information and Technology Officer, Yatra.com shares his views on the evolving ICT needs of the sector and future technology trends…

What role is ICT playing in the travel and hospitality industry?

ICT has been playing a very important role in the hospitality and tourism industry for the past decade. It has helped reduce costs, enhance operational efficiency and improve customer experience significantly. Both customers and businesses have benefited from improved communication and systems. ICT has led to the introduction of technological solutions that not only allow quick resolutions, but are more efficient in solving chronic customer service issues. It has also helped speed up operations and made the travel process more enjoyable.

What are the key ICT solutions deployed by your organisation? How have they improved your business performance and efficiency?

We have always been at the forefront of technology innovation in the online travel space. Initiatives such as the addition of the voice search feature on our website and app, introduction of UPI on the website and integration with Truecaller, etc. are in line with our endeavour to improve user experience. We have launched features such as a Facebook chatbot to enable ticket booking, a self-serve platform to address customer queries, a marketplace chat platform to enable travellers to chat in real time with the sellers.

How are new-age technologies like AI, cloud, IoT and big data analytics transforming the travel and hospitality industry?

Technology trends such as AI, virtual reality (VR) and cloud computing have helped in making travel experience convenient, automated and personalised. Through VR, we are able to provide a deeper, immersive experience to travellers and this can help them find a tailor-made holiday itinerary.

Yatra.com has been aggressively using data analytics and AI in marketing to enhance its customer service. Through big data we try to encapsulate the wide range of traveller preferences and offer an ideal vacation. The data points of different users are mapped to understand their preferences. At Yatra, we are leveraging the combination of in-house and third-party technologies to offer a more personalised experience to customers. Through the data gathered, Yatra.com is able to provide users easy access to recommendations on hotels/flights, etc. that are within their budget.

What are the challenges faced by your organisation in managing the existing IT and telecom infrastructure, and deploying new technologies?

The online travel industry has flourished immensely through big data as it has helped in personalising the entire travel experience and meeting the unique needs of customers. As traveller preferences are constantly evolving, analysing traveller behaviour is a tough nut to crack. Big data resolves this problem by studying travel behaviour and accordingly customising the entire vacation of their clients. However, most organisations find it challenging to handle, process, analyse and apply this abundant data to a particular interaction. The key here is to invest time to understand how to reduce costs and improve data analytics for making decisions in real time.

Going forward, what are the key technology trends that will shape the future of the travel and hospitality industry?

The online travel industry has flourished immensely through big data as it has helped in personalising the entire travel experience and meeting the unique needs of customers. As traveller preferences are constantly evolving, analysing traveller behaviour is a tough nut to crack. Big data resolves this problem by studying travel behaviour and accordingly customising the entire vacation of their clients. However, most organisations find it challenging to handle, process, analyse and apply this abundant data to a particular interaction. The key here is to invest time to understand how to reduce costs and improve data analytics for making decisions in real time.

 
 

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