OTAs will soon become the major contributors in e-commerce

Ridwan Hafiz, Founder and CEO, Go Zayaan says
- Tanvir Shams01 Oct, 2019 | 1419 Views|-+
The one of a kind online travel agency (OTA) Go Zayaan was founded with the intention of serving the tech savvy travellers of Bangladesh by providing a one-stop travel solution online. From booking domestic and international flights to planning a tour for holidays, they have it all in one place, within the reach of travellers' fingertips.

Go Zayaan's headquarter is based in Singapore but they operate only in Bangladesh. It has a dedicated support staff to guide them throughout the process and insure flexibility. Their price comparison tool is revolutionary, bringing travellers the best deals from around the globe in instant, best prices guaranteed.

It is one of the first ever online platform in Bangladesh that accepts payment from both local currency cards as well as mobile financial services like bKash to make things more convenient for travellers.

Ridwan Hafiz, the Founder and CEO established Go Zayaan only two years ago on August 10, 2017. So, it is still like a newborn child to him. However, Go Zayaan is his second child.

He is a Computer Science and Engineering graduate from BUET. In 2008, a year before graduation, he founded his first company Analyzen. It is the biggest digital marketing agency of Bangladesh. So, digital marketing and software - these have been Ridwan's strengths and passions for a long time.

Working with data, he found out that outbound travel from Bangladesh is increasing rapidly. Thus, he had an idea to set foot in travel trade.

"There was a growth of 536 per cent in 2014-2017. Now 48 countries offer visa-on-arrival. Even, the flight fare lessened 30 per cent on average."

In Bangladesh, there is a huge lack of entertainment. That's why people are touring foreign countries more and more.

"We are not the first OTA in Bangladesh; however, the market is very big here. There are many opportunities to work online in the country. And that is what we do best.

Go Zayaan began its operations only with international flights. But then later on, it brought domestic flight booking services too, a few months ago. They are about to bring domestic and international hotel booking services as well in near future. Go Zayaan is also working with domestic tour.

Bangladesh has a lot of tourism products to offer - beautiful beaches, islands, mountains, forests, urban city life, heritage and many more. Yet, the country is yet to reach the number of tourist arrivals India, Cambodia or Myanmar receive. "So we want to work with that infrastructure. We want to contribute to the inbound travel and hospitality industry so that more and more tourists come to visit Bangladesh."

Even though it has only been 2 years since Go Zayaan started, they had more than BDT24 crore worth sales online in the first year. In terms of e-commerce, it is certainly a big deal for Bangladesh since it is difficult to make a sale online in the country, especially the ones which are not based on cash-on-delivery basis, but direct purchase.

We are expecting to double the sales this year."

Ridwan stated that they get the most sales for flights to Thailand and India, just like other OTAs.

"The best thing is we get plenty of sales for business class tickets. It covers a huge portion of our North America and European flight booking services."

Bangladesh is a growing country. The country's GDP is increasing expeditiously along with the disposable income of the people. So people can easily plan to travel.

Go Zayaan run offers very dynamically every now and then.

"The number of our repeat customers is more than 30 per cent. We try to facilitate them to make their travel more convenient. We do many promotions with banks, telecoms and brands. We are bringing EMI facilities. We are also working on something more to make the journey more convenient for the consumers."

This relates perfectly with the brand proposition of Go Zayaan - "Go Flexible". The objective is to ensure that the customer is his own travel agent. "You decide, you plan and you purchase. It is completely up to you. The flexibility belongs to the customer," said the CEO.

From day one till the very end, the strategy of Go Zayaan has been and always will be "customer comes first". Their product is entirely customer oriented.

Go Zayaan has all the airlines associated with the GDS operating to and from Dhaka in their flight inventory, except Saudi Arabia. Besides those, all the domestic airlines are also the OTA's airline partners.

To generate further growth of OTAs, educating the customers should be the primary goal. Customer benefit is the main objective of every OTA in the industry. So the industry is bound to grow by default. Also, some initiatives being taken by the government is further strengthening the operations of OTAs. For instance, in recent years, the payment gateway fees have been reduced a lot which is very beneficial for the E-commerce industry specially the OTAs.

"We only plan to see the exponential growth of Go Zayaan for the next 3 years in all separate segments - inbound, outbound, domestic etc. We want to make Go Zayaan a travel-tech brand, not just a travel agency," concluded Ridwan.

_Tanvir Shams

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