Sabeer Bhatia's New Arzoo

by Hanil Manghani    Oct 05, 2006

Entrepreneur Sabeer Bhatia is at it again - this time re-launching his dotcom debacle - Arzoo as a travel portal.

Dubbing it as ‘One stop travel shop’ for vacationers, individuals and business travelers, Bhatia pegged its attractive fares, service apartment search as key differentiators. It will also enable customers a 24/7 access using mediums like website access, email, SMS, a toll free number and online chat. Plans are afoot to include VoiFi - Sabeer Bhatia’s VoIP offering, and also a voice recognition software to facilitate faster access for corporate clients.

The new website has an in-house developed search engine and CRM solution using SugarCRM. It has tied up with ICICI and American express payment gateways for credit card payments. Online railway ticket purchase is also on the cards. Firewalls, encryption and SSL will ensure security of stored data and transactions, informed Bhatia.

Arzoo that had been in the testing mode for the last four months was officially launched today. Its services will be unveiled in US and Canada at a later stage, to be followed by launches in UK and Australia. The website hopes to make the bulk of its profit from hotel bookings, and has tied up with 700 hotels across India.

Bhatia hopes to create market awareness using Internet search marketing services from Google and Yahoo! and various co-branding initiatives.

Commenting on market response, Bhatia said that the site grew at a rate of 50% per month during its test mode.

Speaking about Arzoo’s debacle in 1999, Bhatia informed Arzoo was introduced as a real-time marketplace for technology related solutions and support. He said, “The venture was a little ahead of time. There were high expectations. Investors had made hefty investments in the project. However, the concept did not justify their investments back then.”

He said that lack of qualified staff, huge spends on advertising and marketing and staff retention were the major factors for Arzoo’s debacle in 1999.