As Online Travel has caught the fancy of the internet savvy travelers the online travel market is booming. No wonder that the online Travel is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide. India is also not left behind in this race as according to industry Pundits, Online Travel Market in India would be worth around US $ 6 Billion.
As a logical extension to such buoyancy, Travel Guides have shown a steady rising to move online and in the process fulfilling the needs of the niche readers. Both traditional print brands as well as purely cyber entities are slogging it out to grab the attention of this niche segment. The publishers of print brands after their initial reluctance have also started embracing the web and publish all their content online.
Let’s take a look at what the Travel Guides offer. Travel guides have become a necessary tool for anyone who is thinking of vacation. A Travel Guide is full of helpful advice, precise information, good ideas etc besides being well-written, well laid out as well as well indexed.
These City centric guides provide information on all aspects of travel. You can get good information on How to Reach, Attractions, Excursions, festivals, History along with the various kinds of accommodations available like lodges, hotels, resorts and the bed-and-breakfasts. Convenient maps make it easy for the newcomers to exactly pinpoint any destination.
An ideal Travel guide should also briefly outline the recreational activities coupled with more mundane activities of life that can be done in a particular city. Another important aspect that is generally missed out is the public transport of the cities where a traveler lands up. A genuine Travel Guide is also supposed to give precise information of the state of public transport highlighting bus routes, Cabs and Auto fares.
Another important aspect of a City Guide is to have a semblance of balanced information. This is important because travel can be both for as well as business.
Pros and cons of Online Travel Guides
More and more people are into researching the internet as a result the Online Travel Guides have become quite popular as compared to their print counterparts. However both the two brands have their own set of advantages and limitations.
Online Destination Guides are successful in tapping user-generated reviews and provide the added advantage of E- Commerce options. So surf the web pages of the guide and book flights, hotels and other arrangements at one go directly through the site. Another great feature of the Online Guides is that there is ample scope for value addition. For example Indian railway has planned a new train to connect Amritsar to Kasargod. This information can be easily updated in the Guide for the travelers to see.
As Hotels and rental agencies change their rates according to season and local competition, online travel guides also offer a dynamic lot of packages based on such variances. However coming to the flip side of it is very difficult to find Online Travel guides bereft of commercial influences. It is not uncommon to see many sites that are setup to merely attract the potential customers to a particular establishment, or sites giving reviews by travelers may not be wholly independent.
To conclude Online Travel Guides have become a very good way to gather information about smaller cities of India that has an immense tourism potential but often neglected. For example the whole of North east, Northern Kerala neglected as a tourist spot over the years have seen good tourist influx thanks to the ubiquitous travel guides.
A.K. Roy has covered a wide gamut of issues related to travel for many popular magazines, research publications and websites. This includes IHR a popular travel based portal, Travelers paradise, Travel plus etc. Have to his credit more than 10 books on various destinations in India.