As part of its strategy of becoming more ‘social’, Goibibo has launched a new feature called GoContacts on its mobile app. GoContacts syncs up with a user’s phone book and shows who are currently using the GoIbibo app. When any user joins GoContacts and books tickets on the app, their connections on the app are given a cash bonus. This also works the other way i.e. when connections make a booking, the user gets a cash bonus.
The company claims that within ten days of launch, 3.4 million users on Goibibo have got connected and says it is building out a social network through this. In the next quarter Goibibo will expand the social network to more user generated content which will include photo reviews, ratings, question and answer. Users will also be able to check out destinations that their contacts have travelled to and accommodations that they would have used.
On checking the app, the feature seems to work exceedingly well. Within five minutes of joining GoContacts, I was credited with GoCash worth Rs 50 from a contact on my phone who booked a ticket on the app (confession: I have no idea who the person was, I had simply saved his number for reasons I don’t remember).
However, there are a number of caveats on how much a user can use GoCash for booking tickets. On its FAQs, GoIbibo says that for flights a maximum of Rs 500 is allowed in GoCash. For hotel booking, the limit is Rs 4,000 and Rs 100 for bus booking and Rs 2,000 for international flights.
It also adds that GoCash which was earned through contacts booking tickets and reservations have a validity of 90 days.
What it could be
It seems that GoContacts is more of a marketing feature rather than an actual social network. The primary reason for GoContacts seems to be to increase transactions as none of the social features are available yet. However, in terms of getting people to engage more, Goibibo is likely to be more successful than Flipkart’s attempt with social via Ping. When it enables its other features, GoIbibo’s social network could resemble Zomato’s with user generated content for the travel segment. But it remains to be seen how successfully it will be implemented.