Online travel package booking site Travelmasti.com has been acquired by Via, a Bangalore based travel service company, reports Nextbigwhat. We checked, and the TravelMasti website sports logo with the message that “TravelMasti is now Via”. The footer of the website states: “Copyrights © Reserved. 2012.Travelmasti.com is a brand owned by Flightraja Travels Private Limited™” The acquisition brings travel packages to its offerings at Via.com (formerly flightraja.com). Founded by Vinay Gupta and Amit Aggarwal in 2006, Via.com is a travel aggregator with more than 20,000 partners across 1,000 cities in India. Previously, Via.com had added a rather odd startup to its portfolio by acquiring Lifemojo, a wellness products focused e-commerce startup. We checked, and Lifemojo.com is currently down.
Note that in the recent past, the way the travel business has changed: OTA’s are charging a significant convenience fee on flight tickets.
New Delhi based Travelmasti provides travel related services to customers along with corporate packages for events. The company also provides its offline service through its Travelmasti Lounge Network present in Dehradun (Uttaranchal), Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Surat (Gujarat). It had raised funds in 2007 from Bennett Coleman Company Lt (BCCL), via the Private Treaties model. We had debated BCCL’s rationale of investing in multiple travel portals, as a part of our launch story:
MediaNama: Let me take the example of Travel space, where you have invested in TravelMasti, TravelChacha, Ezeego1, TravelGuru and HolidayIQ. Where is the competitive advantage established by you since they’re competing with each other?
Times Private Treaties: Very good point. Actually it’s very simple: the whole purpose of advertising is to bring out differentiation. For each of them there is a clear differentiation. For TravelGuru, his whole USP is the strength in the hotel space. Each one has a differentiation. To a layman, everything appears the same. That USP is brought out through the use of a powerful medium as ours.
MediaNama: So you’re giving them space, and how they use the space is their problem?
Times Private Treaties: No, I didn’t say that. There’s a set of people with us who will also tell them how to utilize the space. It’s not vanilla space selling. They have established their business because they have certain differentiation. In a niche space, you don’t need advertising. So you have to first work with the client, understand his strategy, understand his USP and add value.
More from that story here.
Developments In The Travel Space
Recently, Online travel reviews and recommendation site TripAdvisor had inked a deal with Liberty Interactive Corporation to offload a majority stake in its company for $300 million and provide voting control to Liberty Interactive.
Makemytrip.com had acquired a 19.9% stake in Le Travenues Technology Private Limited, which owns and operates www.ixigo.com, an online travel meta search engine for cash consideration of $4.8 million for the purchase of new and existing shares, in August 2011. In November 2011, MakeMyTrip had acquired My Guest House Accommodations Private Limited (MGH), a company that used to aggregate, sell and distribute hotel room inventory focused on budget lodging accommodations and serviced apartments, with an aim to improve efficiency in the distribution of hotel room inventories.
Yatra had earlier acquired b2b hotel aggregation and reservation company, MagicRooms, through its hotels subsidiary Intech Hotel Solutions, following which the MagicRooms team had joined forces with Intech.