Online travel aggregator Cleartrip’s flights and hotel segment will become profitable by the end of this year, its Chief Financial Officer, Aditya Agarwal, said.

According to him, since the company’s acquisition by Flipkart, it has moved from fourth place to second place in the market and has seen its market share grow by 1.5 times.

Agarwal said, “Our priority is to make our existing businesses, such as flights and hotels, profitable. We aim to reach break-even point for these mature businesses and achieve profitability at an operating level by the end of this year. Additionally, we are investing more in our business. We will continue to invest in emerging areas such as buses, packages, and corporate travel,” he said.

Leisure and corporate travel

Agarwal also noted that on an industry level, leisure travel has returned to pre-Covid levels, but corporate travel is expected to return in the next 18-24 months. To tap into that market, the company has relaunched its B2B tools to help agents, so that when corporate travel returns, Cleartrip can have an upper hand.

“Currently, about 40 per cent of the market is offline and B2B. We believe it is important for us to have a presence in that segment as the online segment continues to grow. Agents assist us in both the B2B and B2C segments. As we expand our offerings in alternate accommodations, flights, hotels, packages, and bus segments, offline players will play a significant role. By growing that segment, we aim to reach customers who are not currently utilizing online channels.”

Flipkart acquired Cleartrip, a sixteen-year-old company, almost two years ago. Since then, the online travel agency has been in full throttle with investments in different products and rejigging the company’s structure. Agarwal told that the change in ownership has helped Cleartip a lot in getting its due credit, and that Flipkart understands the online customer and it is a large distribution channel for the company now.

peaking about the contribution of Flipkart, Agarwal said that the “Change in ownership has helped Cleartip a lot in getting its due credit. It was a good product. Now we have shareholders who are pioneers of the eCommerce segment and understand that segment. Flipkart understands the online customer and it is a large distribution channel for us now. At the management level too, they are motivated to continue to invest in the travel business.”

Several companies in the travel industry have announced plans to go public in recent years. EaseMyTrip and RateGain are among those that have already been listed in the past two years, while Thomas Cook and MakeMyTrip were previously listed.

In contrast, in December 2021, Le Travenues Technology Ltd, the parent company of online travel portal Ixigo, received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India for an initial public offering of Rs 1600 crore., which is already listed on NASDAQ, is also planning to raise Rs 7500 crores through an IPO. Both of these companies are expected to be listed in the coming year.

Cleartrip is the only OTA now which hasn’t announced its plans to be listed. When asked whether Cleartrip would opt for going public like some of its competitors, Agarwal stated that the company is still at a stage where there is a lot of growth that can be driven as a private company, and that they have a lot of supportive shareholders. He added that the company does not have any immediate plans to go public.