This Traveltech Company Is Aimed At Disrupting The Market And Make Travelling Simpler
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Growing access to internet and smartphones has caused a major disruption in the Indian start-up ecosystem. Government’s continuous efforts to make India digital and develop the start-up ecosystem has led to the boom in several markets, notably in fintech, e-commerce, hospitality, food tech, edtech, and travel tech.
The online disruption in travel tech space has made travelling simpler than ever. Instead of seeking help from travel agents and paying them a fortune to get their plans sorted, users can now book their tickets online to choosing their seat in the plane to booking hotels for a stay using their mobile phones.
India and UAE-based travel tech company Cleartrip has been disrupting the online travel space since 2006. While speaking with Entrepreneur India, Balu Ramachandran, Sr. VP of Cleartrip said that Cleartrip was founded at a time the environment around travel was not as simple as today. As per Ramachandran the ability for customers to make choices on what flights to opt for was essentially working in an offline model earlier where one had a travel agent. It was a complex environment because of the nature of how it operated. There was a huge amount of information disparity where the customers were not completely sure about transparency about pricing and whether it was the best option that they were given, and so on.
“So we began the startup with the motto of making travel simple and it had two aspects to it. One was to get all this fragmented experience online to make travel simple while introducing transparency and efficiency in the booking process and the other was to provide a superlative customer experience,” Ramachandran added .
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Cleartrip’s Philosophy: Improving Customer Experience
Founded in 2006 by Stuart Crighton, Cleartrip is an online travel and leisure aggregator which maintains customer-centric approach and provides a wide selection of flights, hotels and activities.
“So customer experience for us is the most important tenet around which we focus every element of our thinking process. Be it from how we create a design experience, how we create our user experience to how we think about our products,” Ramachandran said. These are the aspects that kind of held constant for us in the last 13 years of our existence and makes us relevant to the customers even today,” Ramachandran said. According to Ramachandran, Cleartrip does 50,000 transactions per day.
While explaining the company’s business model, Ramachandran also explained that India has not only B2C but also B2B and a corporate market. So apart from B2C focus, Cleartrip also has other models which cover other partners of the ecosystem. For instance, Cleartrip services have been made available on Amazon travels. “Such models help us reach out to customers across the spectrum in India,” he added.
Expanding Business Offerings With 'Cleartrip for Work'
Last month, the company launched ‘Cleartrip for Work’ to provide travel benefits to MSMEs and startups. According to the company, with this new offering, travellers with GST numbers can access unlimited corporate fares on flights with benefits including unlimited cashback, complimentary in-flight meals, zero trip modification charges, reduced cancellation fee, and reduced seat selection fee through a simple sign-in process. The travellers can avail benefits across flights and hotels for domestic and international travel.
“The corporate travel experience is fragmented and ineffective for today's tech-savvy customer. Cleartrip for Work introduces high levels of innovation, strong features and world-class UI present in our consumer product to corporate and SME customers. Along with this, customers will also have access to corporate fares with special inclusions, and GST invoices for input tax credits and reimbursement,” said Founder and CEO Stuart Crighton in a statement.
Explaining the new offering, Ramachandran said that Cleartrip partnered with major airlines and hotels in India to change the travel for workspace by giving access to special fares directly to the traveller. “Typically, such fares are accessible only when the organisation signs-up for Cleartrip’s business offering but ‘Cleartrip for Work’ is accessible for individual travellers, as well as for travel admins who can add multiple travellers to the account through a simple self sign-in process,” he added.
Traveltech Market In India
According to an April 2019 report by Bain & Company and Google, Indians took approximately 2 billion domestic and international trips in 2018 and had spent nearly $94 billion on transportation, lodging and consumption during their travels. “As Internet penetration increases throughout the country, more travellers will book online—nearly 35 per cent by 2021. To take advantage of rising online spending, companies need to facilitate new user adoption and increase penetration among existing travellers across the purchasing phases: interest, researching, booking, experiencing and post-trip sharing,” the report stated.
At a time when travel tech market is developing and making travel easier, Cleartrip faces stiff competition from other giants in the space such as MakeMyTrip-GoIbibo, Yatra, and TravelTriangle.