More than 25 million Muslims travel to Mecca for pilgrimage each year generating revenues of tens of billions of dollars for hotels, service providers and operators. This huge market has until recently been running on archaic technology and communication infrastructure, there has been little or no innovation in the technical area of facilitating pilgrimage. Whereas travel industry has moved ahead considerably, the pilgrims still have to resort to the websites of individual tour operators for information.
Most of the websites are either unfinished or rarely updated. Comparing the offers could be a nightmare and then contacting each service provider individually could easily cost weeks of lost time. The problems are not faced by pilgrims alone but also tour operators and service providers who are just as clueless as to what they could offer because of a lack of collaborative setup where real time interaction could be possible.
FlyHajj – a startup from Pakistan – aims to change this through its real-time marketplace which brings transparency and ease of use for everyone involved in carrying out the logistics of Hajj and Umrah. Already covered on leading tech portals such as ITP and ReadWriteWeb, FlyHajj is becoming a one-stop traveling, accommodation and shopping online destination for muslims pilgrims and tour operators. With partners in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America, it has already served over five thousand customers across four continents this year and counting.
With many religious organizations and bodies realizing the importance of technology and now using web as one more medium to convey their message, FlyHajj is a step further as it forms a platform for connecting the individuals, organizations and operators.
FlyHajj working is simple, there are two distinct services:
B2B Marketplace Services:
B2B marketplace where service providers, hotel owners, tour operators all come together and share information (hotel rates, transfer services, visa, etc). This offers opportunities to interact with participants in marketplace on real-time basis which results in increased automation in processes. Instead of relying on traditional Email or Phone, thanks to FlyHajj, new partnerships across the globe are forged every hour.
B2C – End User Services
Typically, tour operators create their profile and packages. Pilgrims can either choose between these packages or ask for quotes. Package reservation or bookings follow the typical industry format whereas requests for quotes are filtered and distributed to tour operators in the region using multiple criteria. Operators offer their quotes and finally the traveler gets to choose the operator for pilgrimage!
By Jawwad Mahmood