The Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) launched the TAFI Connect platform on World Tourism Day to help members boost non air revenue and reach Indian and global suppliers directly.
“The major challenge that Indian small- and medium-sized travel agencies are facing is how to keep up with transformations of the digital age. The need of the hour is that agents collaborate among themselves and become a formidable power,” said Praveen Chugh, president, TAFI.
“TAFI Connect is a new-age technology, an ecosystem that patches the current fragmented offline travel scenario, enabling peer-to-peer transaction between travel agents, hotels, DMCs and corporates. It allows exchange of rates, inventory and intelligence in real time with automation in a common platform for real-time search and a payment platform that’s secure.”
TAFI Connect affords the association’s members multiple buying options, best rate guarantee from suppliers, as well as a plug-and-play platform that enables instant and direct connection with hotels and suppliers.
“It will have taxation compliance and payment will be dispersed to suppliers in 72 hours with our banking partner HDFC,” Praveen added.
Among the suppliers that TAFI has tied up with for the platform include MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Zomata, Cleartrip, GRNconnect.com, Oyo Rooms and Lemon Tree Hotels.
With this initiative, TAFI has also extended its Joint Bank Guarantee (JBG) scheme beyond air ticket bookings to its members. TAFI Connect will allow member agents to utilise 20 per cent of their JBG limit for booking of hotels and other services.
TAFI at present offers JBG as an alternative mode of financial security to IATA. The JBG scheme is based on the principle of mutual liability of the group involved in offering the financial security.
Rajat Bagaria, managing director, Shrishti Tours & Travels, sees value in having leading companies aggregating hotels across India and the world on one common, transparent platform.
“For small agents it is an opportunity to grow their business by reaching out directly to suppliers to get best price of a product, while through JBG suppliers they have the assurance that their money is not at risk,” he commented.