Driven by the consistent growth in its Flights, Trains and Bus ticketing categories, One97 Communications which owns the payments company, Paytm has sold over 38 Mn tickets in FY ‘18 alone, and is aiming 2x growth in ticketing volumes by end of FY ‘19 – making it the dominant player in the online travel booking space.
Registering a growth of 3x as compared to FY17, Paytm has been able to effectively address the needs of mobile-only travelers across India. In less than two years of launch, it has seen a massive surge in bookings – emerging as IRCTC’s largest reseller of train tickets, second largest player for bus tickets and among the top three players in flights.
Today more than 85% of all travel bookings come from the app, and its travel offerings are vastly popular across the metros, mini metros as well as tier 2 and 3 cities such as like Jaipur, Indore, Vizag and Lucknow among others. This growth has been largely driven by Paytm’s strong penetration in non-metros coupled with product disruptions like FREE Cancellation that starts as low as Rs.49 for Flights and Rs.3 for Bus, Zero processing fee on cancellation of flight tickets and instant refunds among others. The company has also forged direct relationships with all major domestic and international airlines.
Abhishek Rajan, Vice President – Paytm said, “We are excited about the overwhelming response received over the past year. Interestingly 60% of our growth has come from smaller cities, pointing at a rapid adoption of online travel services in smaller cities where Paytm has a deep penetration. We believe our focus on solving customer needs and creating disruptive product experiences has played a crucial role in offering the confidence to book their travel online. This year, we plan to double our tech team as we continue to focus on building experiences that travelers love. Our goal is to build the country’s most preferred destination for all kinds of travel needs.”
In the online travel space, Paytm competes with the likes of MakeMyTrip, Yatra and ixigo among others. According to a latest development by ET, MakeMyTrip’s Nasdaq-listed parent has injected additional funds in the tour and travels portal and aggregator through a rights issue, valuing the Indian operating company at around Rs 26,000 crore. In its results for the quarter ended December 2017, the company had reported a loss of $45.3 million due to increased expenses following MakeMyTrip’s merger with Ibibo Group.
Earlier this month, Yatra has also expressed its intention to raise $100 mn capital in the next three years. The company registered a 40.8% year-on-year (YoY) growth in revenue to $52.7 mn (Rs 336.04 Cr) for the last quarter of 2017. Also ixigo has recently expanded its footprint in Bengaluru with a new product development center there. It recently launched the ixigo skill for Amazon Alexa in India which will enable travellers to take advantage of voice-assisted travel planning.