Nextra: End-to-End web based software solution for Travel Agents
Technology has pervaded the travel sector and has seeped down to the travel agents as well. Nextra is one such product that provides a solution for the only area in travel sector that is still unorganized up to an extent. Jubin Mehta from YourStory.in caught up with entrepreneur Sudheer Reddy, co-founder at IWeenSoft Software Solutions to know more about their product Nextra. Edited Excerpts from the conversation:Tell us about Nextra in detail.
Nextra is a web-based end-to-end software solution for tour operators, travel agents and corporates. Nextra eliminates the technology gap for the business by providing a reliable, cost effective, scalable and easy-to-use platform to create, book, manage, integrate and distribute travel inventory. Utilizing state-of-the-art technologies and hosting facilities, Nextra enables travel companies to gain a competitive advantage at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.
Why did you choose to develop a product for the travel segment? What was your idea moment?
We have a collective experience of over 20 years in online travel space. During the time we spent in online travel industry (B2B Space), we observed that a large segment of the travel agencies were unorganized and the products available in the market were either unreliable or didn't serve the requirements properly. If they were feature rich, the product cost was not affordable to most of the agents. There was a definite need for a product which was turnkey, low cost and reliable for the fast growing Indian online travel space. That’s how we started with Nextra in October 2010.
What is the market size you are trying to capture?
There are about 6000 IATA accredited agents in India, and about 1 lakh travel agents as a whole. The product is ideal for all IATA accredited agents as well as travel agents who have a business volume of over Rs.1 crore per annum. The market for this product is around 25, 000 travel agents and year on year more agencies are coming up and the remaining 75 - 80,000 travel agents are growing in terms of business. According to a survey, the Indian travel market is increasing at a double digit figure. Hence the product is ideal for the market.
How long did it take to develop Nextra? What is the technology behind the product?It took around 6 months of hard work to build the core product and each month at least 5 - 6 suppliers were integrated into the system. The product has been developed with Java as the backed technology on Linux OS, App Server is Tomcat and Web Server is Apache. Other tools/technologies used are Membase, Ajax , jQuery , Mysql Database to name a few. We are also working on the mobile friendly version currently.
What is the pricing?
Through our “Pay as You Go Model” SaaS model , we offer our clients a great level of flexibility by allowing them to pay on a per transaction basis, with a very low one time setup fees of Rs.50,000 and per transaction charges as low as Rs.10. With minimal commitment we even waive off the AMC charge of Rs.50,000.
Pitch up Nextra against the conventional systems. What are the positives?
The conventional travel products are costly and are not supplier driven. Many product companies have failed to deliver the minimum requirements of the travel agents. We used the domain expertise we gained over multiple years and continuous feedback from travel agents
over last one year kept refining Nextra. Some of the key positives are:
Nextra is Supplier Driven: The ability to configure multiple suppliers for the same service and choosing the preferred supplier. For eg: For flight booking you may configure Yatra.com, Galileo, Makemytrip at a time and route bookings based on a set of rules, like Kingfisher flights can be Configured to be booked from Yatra.com, Spicejet from Makemytrip and all others from Galileo.
Reliable technology Platform: Building and maintaining a world class travel technology is very expensive and not affordable for a very large percentage of the agents. A big percentage of agents were depending on other big travel agents in the market for technology solution, but it was not really giving the business flexibility they required. The design decisions which went in designing Nextra will make sure the client can be rest-assured about their technology meeting their business growth.
Nextra is Low Cost: Nextra comes at a fraction of the cost other travel technology companies charge and also gives the client a great level of flexibility with its pay-as-you-go model.
How are you marketing Nextra?
Till now Nextra has been on a Self Marketing Mode[Word of Mouth]. The Product has got many positive reviews and it has been our strength from day one. We are now planning to go aggressive now that the product is time tested and shaped up well. The immediate sales channels that we are looking at are: The Travel Agency Associations, Travel Conferences, Advertising on B2B Websites and affiliate marketing. We are also working towards having partnerships with large travel inventory providers to promote their products through our solution.
How many clients do you have as of now?
We now have 22 Clients all over India.
As you deal with sensitive data, can you please tell us about the reliability of the technology?
The genesis of building Nextra was to build a reliable technology platform for travel related products. We used the state of the art technology platforms for our needs and designed the solution keeping scalability and reliability being primary focal points. The reliability of the platform is also proven over last six months. We make use of Cloud infrastructure providers (We currently run on Amazon). The data being very sensitive we take enough measures to take regular backups and stored in multiple geographic locations. We are sure that we can make any of our clients scale very easily with very little additional cost involved for client.
More about IWeenSoft and Nextra at http://www.iweensoft.com/