Online travel agency Goibibo has launched Go-Time Guarantee, a service which claims to guarantee refund processing within 2 hours of travel cancellation on the portal. The service also shares the exact minutes and seconds to process the refund. According to the company, if the refund doesn’t happen in 2 hours, it will credit Rs 100 for every hour of delay to the user’s GoCash wallet.
Goibibo states that over 15% travellers (based on its own data) make changes to their trips which result in refunds which need to be issued to customers. It adds that in the GoTime Guarantee launch week, it processed 99% of applicable cases within 30 minutes. The company plans to launch ‘time guarantees’ for all processes on its site within the next 3-4 months.
GoCash wallet: In January 2014, GoIbibo launched a closed wallet called goCash, offering it to customers as a solution for easily making online travel bookings after a previous booking had failed, for receiving rewards or redeeming points. According to the website, even though it took less than 24 hours to initiate refunds from banks in case a transaction failed, banks themselves take between 2 to 5 business days to credit the money back to the customer’s account.
The company’s recent developments:
– For the quarter ended December 31 (Q3FY16), the company claimed that 71% of its hotel bookings came via mobile, up from 57% two quarters ago. Desktop accounted for the rest 29% of the bookings and overall it saw over bookings for 1.6 million room nights for the quarter.
– In December, the company claimed that it had reached 600,000 ratings and reviews across 20,000 Indian hotels by its users. It expected to expand ratings and reviews to 37,000 hotels by March 2016, and a total volume of 1 million ratings. At that time, Goibibo stated that it had a user generated content engine for ratings, photo reviews and Q&As.
– In September last year, Goibibo launched GoStays, a new section on its website and mobile app, which would aggregate unbranded budget accommodations across India. The platform went live in 72 cities and 862 properties, which according to the company translated to about 10,000 rooms per day for customers to choose from.
– Ibibo Group acquired minority stake in hotel tech startup Djubo in August last year. It also offers mobile friendly website templates for hotels along with a booking engine and payment gateway and provides online channel management for automated integrations with multiple travel aggregators.
MediaNama’s take: Refunds are still a pain in the neck when it comes to digital payments. This move is pretty helpful for users since they now have one less task of following up with the company on the when and where of refunds. It would be even better if users could withdraw that money into their banks, but given the closed wallet nature of GoCash, we image users can use that money to book their next trips/stays through Goibibo again.