Only 25% Of Cleartrip's Business Comes From Metro Cities

In domestic air bookings, 75 per cent of Cleartrip's business comes from non-metro cities. Overall, it goes on to show that the travel-business is not metro dominated, says Ayyappan Rajagopal, CEO, Cleartrip

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When the pandemic rocked the world in 2020, one of the worst affected sectors was travel and tourism. With time it seemed things were going back to normal, however, with fresh Covid cases announced globally and India issuing protocols for international travelers, the sector might face the heat again; but this time, it would be easier as people have better domestic travel options. So, how did it happen? In the past two years, a lot of domestic destinations have cropped up. "Jaipur, Srinagar, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram are a few new examples of leisure destinations; earlier, these cities did not see the kind of spike in travel rates as seen now. The number of flights, connectivity and hotel occupancies in these Tier II cities have shot up," said Ayyappan Rajagopal, CEO, Cleartrip.

In domestic air bookings, 75 per cent of Cleartrip's business comes from non-metro cities. Overall, it goes on to show that the travel-business is not metro dominated.

"Either the boarding is from a non-metro city or the destination is a non-metro city or both are non-metro pockets," the CEO said. The reason for the change is an evolving shift in consumer behavior. "Earlier, customers used to plan their travel well before: Almost 60 days prior. Now, they have reduced it to 30 days, this is one key trend that has happened post-Covid," he said, adding that the work from home culture has also led to an increase in the number of traveling days. "With the WFH option, people club their weekdays with weekends and plan a longer holiday," he said. The average room stay has increased from 2.5 nights to 3.5 nights. The key trends involve Increase in staycation, business trips and consumer preference for hotels with good hygiene standards.

So, what's up in store for 2023? "A lot of value innovation! If you love to travel, we will help you live your dream."

Business growth

The company has rolled out offerings that provide effortless flexibility on bookings, quick customer query resolutions and refunds bringing value and enhanced experience together. "As a business, customer-centricity is the life force that fuels all our endeavors. Clear Advantage is an extension of this principle and mirrors our core values – transparency, optimism, curiosity, innovation and inclusivity. We are confident that our value proposition will usher in a new era within the OTA landscape and enable customers to experience travel like never before," the CEO said.

Cleartrip has witnessed a three times growth year-on-year in topline in FY23. The company aims to place ambitious bets on the travel and tourism industry. The average price of air tickets has gone up to 25 to 30 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels. Despite the price hike, the demand stands at 90 per cent of the pre-pandemic level, it is yet to reach 100 per cent because of the constraint on the supply side. "The aircrafts available with the airlines are a little limited, otherwise, from a consumer perspective, the demand has crossed pre-pandemic level," he said, adding that the domestic flights are almost running at 90 per cent capacity, "Generally, flights don't cross the 80 per cent mark, this testifies the growth."

The International flights are divided into short and long hauls, "Barring the supply side issue of the aircrafts, we have seen a spike in demand as every airline is running full at a price much higher than the pre-pandemic levels."

The domestic hotel business, which is a new vertical of the company, has reached 65 to 70 per cent of the pre-pandemic level. "Certain pockets such as Goa, North-east and Shimla are doing really well."

Cleartrip 2.0

It has been over a year since Flipkart acquired Cleartrip. "CT 2.0 is all about giving a customer experience that has never been witnessed before. Post acquisition, the market-share growth has been phenomenal. Whatever we wanted to achieve in three years has been achieved in a span of 12 months." Post the acquisition, Cleartrip's NPS (net promoter score) has moved up.

Being part of Flipkart has helped the brand in understanding its customers in a better way. When customers shop on Flipkart, they earn Super Coins: a democratized coins programme that can also be redeemed on Cleartrip. For instance, if a consumer has 6,000 Super Coins, then they can actually redeem them to book a flight without paying anything further. "Using Super Coin as a tradable democratic system we have been able to acquire and retain customers. There has also been a synergy with the Cloud infrastructure, the data structure we use for Flipkart or Cleartrip, we power it through the same technology which helps us with the ramping up of infrastructure, which otherwise becomes a costly module."

Additionally, Flipkart Travel is powered by Cleartrip and through this partnership, the OTA platform leverages the 300 million consumer base of Flipkart.