After venturing into non-core domains like driver-less cars and technology enabled glasses, now Google has ventured into the online deals business in India.
Google's Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) is a three day shopping festival starting from December 11 to 13 where more than 200 retailers and 15 travel brands participate.
Brands offer discounts that are exclusively available during this sale period.
This is GOSF's second year in India, the number of travel brands participating this year seems marginally high.
Travel brands participating in GOSF 2013 include Abhibus, Easemytrip, Cleartrip, Makemytrip, Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways, Hyatt hotels and ITC hotels.
GOSF 2012 was a 24-hour sale event where all travel brands offered discounts with specific terms and conditions.
Notable deal activity last year was from Cleartrip when it offered Rs 1212 discount for first 300 flight bookings. When the deal sold out the company switched its discount to its hotels product in real-time.
Tnooz spoke to Yatra president Sharat Dhall, MakeMyTrip's marketing head Manish Kalra, and RedBus CMO, LK Gupta, about GOSF:
How was your experience at GOSF last year – in terms of brand visibility, traffic, revenue, ROI?
Yatra: GOSF 2012 was first of its kind of an online event that acted as a huge platform to various ecommerce players across categories. Brands were not only able to leverage their presence but were also able to reach out to their target audiences in an efficient manner. We were happy with the response we got in terms of 12% incremental traffic coupled with 6-7% incremental sales on the day of the event.
MakeMyTrip: During GOSF last year, we received incremental traffic but there wasn't a major spike in bookings. Consumers to GOSF primarily tend to be deal-seekers. We participated in GOSF to capture this audience.
redBus: GOSF last year was on a limited scale and more of an experiment for us to test the medium.
Why are you participating in GOSF when you can offer deals in your own website?
Yatra: GOSF offers a great platform to players like Yatra.com to reach out to not only their existing customers but also to potential customers. Also, GOSF is promoted heavily by Google so the awareness and popularity quotients are very high amongst online shoppers which in turn help brands in better visibility, traffic and ROI.
MakeMyTrip: Given that this year it is a 3-day festival, we expect an increased amount of incremental transactions from GOSF and consumers will have time to make more informed decisions this time. It is definitely a good platform for brand establishment, marketing, promotions, and customer engagement.
redBus: This year, we are participating again with an expectation that it will reach a lot many number of customers. We currently reach out to the bus travellers online through various channels such as SEM, affiliate, social media, SEO etc. However, this being a nascent category, we believe that there is a certain segment of bus travellers that GOSF would be able to reach out to who are yet to be exposed to the redBus brand.
Is this a Cyber Monday equivalent in India for travel industry?
Yatra: Yes, definitely we can say that it is a Cyber Monday not only for travel industry but for most of the ecommerce industry.
MakeMyTrip: With GOSF, the intention seems to be to recreate the traffic and sales of Cyber Monday equivalent in India. Over time this can build into a significant online shopping property.
What’s your expectation from GOSF 2013?
Yatra: We are very excited for the upcoming GOSF and are offering great deals (discounts) on all line of businesses including hotels, holidays and flights. Since we are offering very competitive and lucrative discounts we are expecting good returns as well.
redBus: Our expectation out of GOSF 2013 is to tap new customers and ensure that their first experience with buying a bus ticket online is with redBus.
NB: Sale image via Shutterstock.