Have spent the last 3 hours reading this forum. A wealth of info. and thanks to those who contributed.
I have been in the SEO business since 96 and we service clients from a range of industries based in diverse locations (Africa, States, Europe).
One of them has recently started a JV with a big sub-continent travel player. They are very interested in targetting high net-worth individuals travelling abroad.
Some assumptions / deductions the client has made from their research:
1)The best method of reaching these potential travellers is via the traditional travel agent. In their words, they say that the travel agent is part of the extended Indian family and seldom make travel plans without their agent. They also motivate that as a result of this, the internet is not a good avenue to pursue as of yet?
2) Indians plan travel at very short notice, from as little as 8 days out.
3) Internet usage is very low in India apart from Bangalore where there is a high percentage of internet users (comment: this seems to be contrary to what I've read in this forum).
Effectively, they are using the above premises to motivate not utilising the internet as a direct channel. My gut feel is that they are wrong. From my perception and dealings with technology companies based in India (we have competed against and utilised some firms based there), and Indians appear to be early adopters of technology and the internet specifically. Furthermore, when searching for information on the net, they will turn to one of the English based search engines to find information. This makes the net and search engines an ideal platform for targetting this market.
I would be very interested in your comments.