Value Added Service (VAS) provider, Spice Digital has launched a B2B travel and tourism solution called Spice Safar for travel agents, as a part of Spice’s retail initiatives. Spice is launching this platform with an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) partnership where Safar act as its principal agent to carry out IRCTC’s e-ticket booking services in the country.
The company claims that Spice Safar will be connected to Indian Railways in real time via IRCTC. Retail agents can log on to Spice Safar platform and search for trains, check fares and book tickets online through this interface. A principal agent fee is paid by IRCTC to Spice for every ticket booked and this amount appears in every ticket booked using the platform.
Speaking to Medianama, Sumi Dhody, National Product Head – M-commerce of Spice Digital said that this platform has been launched targeting the offline travellers who are neither internet savvy nor have the internet access to make bookings on their own. The company chose to target this segment since existing online players cater to the segment that is familiar with internet bookings, adds Dhody. The company’s sales will target existing retail travel agents through an on-ground one-to-one initiative and Point-of-Sale (POS) marketing material to market this platform.
Presently, the company does not intend to integrate these services on mobile since booking trains through mobile can become cumbersome. However, the company also plans to include hotels, taxis, among others on this platform in the future and these categories may be integrated into a mobile platform. Going forward, the platform will also become B2C, adds Dhody.
Spice’s Retail Foray
Spice Digital’s decision to target the offline travellers appears to be a calculative and well thought move. We believe that the company is trying to familiarise consumers with their brand to convert offline buyers into online buyers before they convert the platform into a B2C platform. It is worth noting that Spice Digital’s website also mentions air ticket, movie ticket bookings and bill payments as well. However, it is not clear if these services have already been launched or are in the pipeline but it seems that the VAS provider is eyeing retail m-commerce in a big way.