Online travel portal, Ezeego1.com has forayed into the offline segment by setting up its first ever franchisee store in Surat, Gujarat. This store will provide travel related services like bookings of flight tickets, hotel accommodation, car rentals, holiday packages, rail, cruise, bus, sightseeing, visa and Insurance to customers who are still not Internet savvy and prefer booking tickets from a retail outlet.

With this franchisee store, Ezeego1.com intends to establish its offline presence and distribution network across all cities in India, thereby following a hybrid offline+online sales model similar to Via.com and Yatra.com. Whats interesting though is that Ezeego1.com has started with a tier II city (Surat) and it intends to focus on tier II and tier III cities in this fiscal year. It would be interesting to see how much of the offline retail efforts contribute to the company’s overall sales.

Ezeego1.com added that it will also provide an on-going marketing, technical and store development support to the franchisee. This includes preferential print and radio ad commercials, help in store designing to reflect the brand look and feel and training and technical support to the franchisee.

Launched in 2006, Ezeego1.com is a travel portal which offers a travel related marketplace where various suppliers, travel agents, and travel partners distribute, promote and sell their travel products including Flights, Hotels, Holidays, Bus & Train Tickets, Car Rentals, Cruises, Visa & Forex services to online customers.

In November 2011, Ezeego1.com had collaborated with SREI Sahaj e-Village to set up broadband enabled Common Service Centres in rural India to offer air tickets, holiday packages, hotel bookings and other services to customers who do not have credit/debit cards and netbanking accounts or a computer. The company had informed that this service would be available in Sahaj’s 20,000 retail outlets across 6 states in North East and South India, including common service centers in villages. It had stated that it will also facilitate travel bookings for customers who wish to pay cash for online purchases from the portal, through Sahaj’s virtual payment gateway called SKASH. Interestingly, the company also offers a Hindi interface wherein both the booking system and payment option (online and offline) are integrated in Hindi.

Apart from this, Ezeego1.com had launched Cash on Delivery Service across 40 cities in August 2011, to allow customers make online bookings without the need for sharing their credit card details and had introduced a new ‘Deal of the day’ feature through which the company had claimed to offer 50%- 75% discounts to free flights on select sectors every day.