MakeMyTrip is asking people to be a social traveller by launching Tripalong.in, a social application developed exclusively for travellers. When integrated with your social network accounts like Facebook and LinkedIn, Tripalong maps your travel itinerary to help connect with friends while travelling. The app has been conceptualised and developed in association with Bengaluru-based TenTenTen Digital Products.
Campaign India talked to Keyur Joshi, chief operating officer and co-founder, MakeMyTrip and Ramesh Srivats, managing director and chief executive officer, TenTenTen Digital Products, to know more about the app.
One of your competitors recently announced Facebook integration, so how is Tripalong different from it?
Keyur: What they offered is integration, Tripalong is totally different. It is a social application that will enhance the ‘fun’ quotient of your travel experiences. A unique platform to engage with old friends and meet new people, Tripalong extends our brand promise of creating 'Memories Unlimited!'. Also, it is not necessary that the users have to book tickets from MakeMyTrip to integrate it with Tripalong.
Srivats: When users enter the details of their flights on Tripalong, they are notified if they are intersecting with other Tripalong members from their social network circle. Once users share their flight details they can catch up with their friends — who may be on the same flight, at the airport and or even in the city they are visiting. Friends can then choose to connect offline and check-in together to get a seat next to each other or meet at the airport. Users can also make new friends on Tripalong based on their profiles and interests.
Social apps have often been looked with scepticism because of privacy issues. What steps have been taken in Tripalong to safeguard user’s information?
Keyur: MakeMyTrip is sensitive to traveller-information protection and no other user-related data is exchanged with Tripalong members who are not authorised by the user.
Srivats: The privacy settings and networks or groups are auto-imported from Facebook and LinkedIn – thus only other Tripalong members and the social connections who the user wants to connect with, are privy to their travel information.
Mobile is the first screen for a huge population in India. Any plans to release a mobile app?
Keyur: India is adding around three million internet users every month. The mobile internet space is also growing very rapidly. Therefore, definitely, mobile app will be rolled out in few months. However, we want the mobile experience to be more different, as the content on mobile devices is consumed differently.
Currently, the focus seems to be on the air-travellers but MakeMyTrip also helps you to book hotels, rail and bus tickets. Any plans to include these features?
Keyur: Eventually, yes. We plan to add all facets of MakeMyTrip to give more power to the users. Nevertheless, we can exactly tell you when these features will be added.
How do plan to market it? Any plans for integration and alliances with other brands?
Keyur: We want to make this viral on the social network, so we would implement strategy whereby people would make it viral on the digital space. Currently, we don’t plant to use any other media for marketing Tripalong, as we trust it’s a great product and users will love it. In addition, we want to keep Tripalong as an independent property.
Srivats: Social networks are more than just new media. They have changed the very way in which people interact with each other. Hence, there is no point in using them as yet another channel to pump brand messages. In fact, in this world, brands are built by actions, not words. Tripalong helps MakeMyTrip do just this. It is useful and cool.
Are you in talks with leading m-commerce ventures like Airtel Money, Nokia Money and others to integrate pay-from-your-mobile feature on MakeMyTrip?
Keyur: Mobile money is an attractive opportunity. It gives users the flexibility to pay through various mediums. We would like to work with as many players as possible. Nokia and Airtel are doing a great job and we are in talks with them to integrate this feature.