NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Thomas Cook (India) Ltd., India’s leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, latest finding reveals that the Indian traveller’s use of online platforms is moving beyond flights/hotels, to include visa processing.
Thomas Cook India’s internal consumer study, while highlighting visas as a key element in travel, revealed the stress and pain involved in the entire process. In an initiative to simplify the process, Thomas Cook launched “Online Visas” to empower its customers with detailed visa information (visa requirements per destination, downloadable visa forms, consular addresses and timings, processing duration and visa costs). Clearly this has found strong value with travellers, resulting in over 20,000 application requests received online in the months of May & June, 2015,
KEY STUDY FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS:
- Singapore ranked number 1 in the amount of total visa applications received online:
Singapore 41%; Schengen* 16%; Malaysia 15%; UK 7%; USA 5%; Canada 4%; Australia 3%
*(Schengen countries included Switzerland, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain)
- Tech-savvy Bengaluru leads the market for online visa applications contributing to 22%, followed by the 2 top metros of Mumbai and Delhi. Gaining popularity are the emerging young student and young professional/corporate executive markets of Pune & Hyderabad:
Bengaluru 22%; Mumbai 20%; Delhi 18%; Pune 12%; Hyderabad -10%
- Interestingly, the maximum online applications received less than 15 days prior departure, were from Bengaluru and for short-haul destinations Singapore and Malaysia; indicative that Bengaluru travellers perhaps enjoy last-minute breaks (visas for both countries can be granted in 3 days to a week)
Mr. Amit Madhan, Chief Operating Officer – IT & E Services, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said, “The world is changing rapidly and so is customer behaviour. Today’s digitally native Indian is increasingly impatient for both information/data, as also delivery. He needs information instantly and has little patience to wait for a third party to meet his requirements. Obtaining a visa remains one of the biggest pain points for India’s traveller as it involves filling complex applications, travelling to metro cities, standing in queues for submissions/interviews, etc. With visa services online, our intent is to eliminate multi-level complexities. Our 2 step process enables easy access to online visa information with fulfilment of visa services (drop off of documents, checks by an expert, submission and collection and final delivery of a visa stamped passport) executed offline- via our extensive pan India outlets”.
He added, “While not surprising that Singapore topped the list of favoured destinations for online visa submissions, Schengen countries like Switzerland and France constituted an interesting second. Bengaluru continues to show faster adoption for new online tools, Pune and Hyderabad together with Mumbai and Delhi are not far behind.”
Mr Madhan concluded by stating, “Technology will continue to be a key focus of our strategic intent and consumer insights will power this initiative for us at Thomas Cook.”