MakeMyTrip festive season sale goes 'app-only'

Nasdaq-listed online travel company MakeMyTrip is going the Flipkart way in offering 'onlyapp sale' during the festival season.
MakeMyTrip festive season sale goes 'app-only'

Nasdaq-listed online travel company MakeMyTrip is going the Flipkart way in offering 'onlyapp sale' during the festival season.

The week-long sale, starting Tuesday, is aimed at getting users to shop for summer holidays in 2016 at a deep discount, beside offering deals for the current high-season travel quarter. "The next seven days are your chance to book the next summer holidays on discounts," said an executive while describing the 'Great Indian Getaway', which might become an annual property depending on its success.

Recently, e-commerce major Flipkart had taken the second edition of its 'big billion day' sale to the 'only-app' platform, encouraged by the high growth in shopping via smartphones. Myntra, the fashion portal acquired by Flipkart last year, has transformed itself to an onlyapp service provider through the year. Ola, the largest cab aggregator in India, is also going the 'only-app' way.

 However, the Deep Kalra-founded travel company is unlikely to go only app yet. Rajesh Magow, chief executive officer-India, MakeMyTrip, told Business Standard the company would continue to offer the desktop option as long as there was demand for it. However, the current app-fest, in an effort to give a further push to app use, might well be a test case for the travel firm.

At present, 60 per cent of those shopping through mobile phones are booking hotels using apps and 40 per cent through mobile browsers. Of the overall user base, it's a 50-50 split between mobile and desktop traffic. While Magow pointed out that gross merchandise volume, a currency used in the ecommerce world, was not relevant in the online travel sector, he said the week-long app sale would have a multiplier effect on bookings and transactions. "We have built our capacity for a 5x increase in bookings during the only-app sale,'' said Magow. During peak hours, it could handle as much as 15-fold growth in traffic, the company said.

That might translate into similar rise in transactions. Through partnerships with airline companies and hotels within India and outside, MakeMyTrip is planning to offer deals for holiday to the US, Europe and other international destinations during 2016 summer. It's partnering with Citibank for debit and credit card customers, apart from tie-ups with Air France, KLM, Qatar Airways, Malaysian Airlines, Trident Group of Hotels, Singapore Tourism Board, Sterling Hotels, Country Inn & Suites, Lemon Tree, Ginger Group of Hotels, Lalit group of Hotels and Zuri Hotels & Resorts, Citrus Hotels, among others. MakeMyTrip, founded in 2000, had earlier projected 75-100 per cent year-on-year growth in standalone hotel bookings and 55 per cent in holiday bookings. Estimates suggest 55 per cent of all flight bookings and 15 per cent of hotel transactions across the industry are done online.

On MakeMyTrip, 100 per cent a la carte domestic flights and 70 per cent Indian hotels are booked online. Holiday packages are predominantly booked offline even on MakeMyTrip. "Acquisition of customers starts online, but the actual transaction is concluded offline," said Magow.

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