Times Internet has launched a travel planning website HappyTrips that lets you find out more about the city you’re planning to travel to. It currently has lists of hotels, restaurants, things to do, nightlife for 200 destinations in India and 100 from around the world.
What it lets you do: HappyTrips has guides that are split into five sections: where to stay, where to eat, things to do, where to shop and a section for the party animal. All sections are predominantly compilations of lists; for example, Jaipur‘s where to stay section offers you links to articles such as 5 Jaipur hotels that treat you like Rajputana royalty, 4 Jaipur hotels for backpackers on a budget and Live like a Maharaja without paying a bomb etc.
Things to do meanwhile suggests things you can do over the next 24 or 48 hours in the city you’re in. The number of activities listed are few, with adequate time allocated to eating out, which is quite different from the sort of itineraries offered by packaged tour groups. The suggestions are great for someone who is on a relaxed holiday rather than for the tourist who wants to get his picture taken in front of all prominent buildings in a city.
The website also lets you bookmark locations though there’s no way to see all the places you have bookmarked as of now. Times Internet has informed us that it will be added very soon.
Design: Times Internet says that the website has a card-based design, but in reality it’s just grid-based design, with each box in the grid comprising a picture and headline rather than actionable information presented in a snapshot (which is what card interface means). Definition aside, the website is very neatly done, with an ‘explore’ search bar remaining as a sticky element on the top of the page when you scroll down.
Integration with TimesCity? There seems to be no mention of TimesCity (which recently got a new look app) on HappyTrips, so it looks like a pure content play for now. Even then, it is a little surprising that HappyTrips is not trying to provide more information about restaurants and hotels.
Update: Times Internet has informed us that HappyTrips is using information from TimesCity on a white label basis through the backend. The front end mentions should be up in a few days
Competition: HappyTrips does not have any major competitor that is concentrating purely on content. Competing sites would include HolidayIQ and Cleartrip’s recently launched collections. These two websites are using guides and location information to get more people to make bookings through their website, while Times Internet seems to be relying entirely on ad revenue with its website. AntFarm’s* Arrive does something similar, by suggesting places you need to visit in each city. Internationally there’s also Lonely Planet.
*AntFarm is an advertiser with MediaNama.