iXiGO.com, a leading travel search engine focused on India, has added a new feature to its site called Trip Planner to ensure enhanced travel research. The new feature allows users to input their travel details (to and from destination) and presents assorted travel-related content (in the form of infographics) like transportation mode (flight, train, bus and cab), driving directions and additional information about those destinations. It also shows the cheapest and the fastest ways of travel and provides information on food, hotel accommodation and activities.
We tried out a sample query for a trip from Mumbai to Goa and got various options for the journey, ranging from the fastest way to travel (a combo of flight and cab ride that takes one hour and costs Rs 1,984) to the cheapest one (a train and bus combo takes almost 10 hours and costs only Rs 165). The Trip Planner also features the distance (498 km), driving directions (with an estimated time and fuel cost) for the trip, weather (with advice on what to wear), sightseeing (Agonda beach, Anjuna beach flea market, etc.), top restaurants (Pousada by the beach, Le Jardin) and top hotels (budget, mid-range and luxury categories).
Aloke Bajpai, co-founder and CEO of iXiGO.com, said, "The biggest problem with the Internet today is that there is too much information, fragmented across several websites. Our team has assorted the most useful travel information from the Web and we are bringing it to users â€“ so that they can make informed decisions when planning their trips."
During our query session, the Trip Planner also came up with nearby destinations that a traveler may like to visit. In our case, those destinations were Yellapur (105 km), Dandeli (80 km) and Belgaum (75 km). You also have the choice to dive further into the categories available and get detailed information on locations, rates/prices/entry fees, opening times, best time to visit, etc. Currently, Trip Planner supports queries across 250 Indian cities.
"We're evolving from a travel search engine to an interactive travel knowledge engine by developing an understanding of common travel-related queries and answering those just like a human being would," said Rajnish Kumar, co-founder and CTO of iXiGO.com.
Launched in 2007, the company's investors include SAIF Partners and MakeMyTrip Ltd. Earlier this year, the company also launched a natural language search tool on Facebook and Twitter and has other products like the Fare Mapper and the Flight Planner.