Online travel agency ixigo has chalked out a multi-fold plan to tap growing potential in Tier-1, and smaller cities, a top company official said.

Speaking to BusinessLine , Aloke Bajpai, Group CEO and Co-founder, ixigo, explained that with the overall improvement in travel and internet infrastructure in India, and Tier-1 and -2 travel segment being the growth drivers, ixigo expects deeper penetration in small cities will drive the growth of train, flight, bus and hotel bookings.

Grabbing opportunities

“We intend to capitalise on such opportunities by expanding our user base within the ‘next billion users’ segment, engaging our existing users to return to the book and use our online platforms more frequently,” Bajpai said.

Increasing urbanisation, rising urban and rural income and a number of reforms, including semi highspeed rail corridors, highspeed rail projects, station redevelopment, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the modernisation of trains are expected to drive growth in rail travel.

Pick up across segments

Air travel is also gathering pace with the Indian government making efforts to connect rural airports under the UDAN scheme, thereby significantly improving the development of new airports and expansion of fleet by airlines, he explained.

In bus travel, Bajpai said the bulk of demand requires connectivity from bus hubs to metros. “There has been a surge in the connectivity of villages and towns with Tier-1, -2, and -3 cities, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic,” he said.

Speaking on the current travel trends, overall demand for travel in October-December has seen encouraging growth in all three segments — flights, trains and buses (m-o-m as well as y-o-y).

“There was a spike in demand to travel this festival season and a gradual shift from essential to leisure travel towards the end of the year,” he said.

Another trend that seems to be catching up is ‘escape tourism’ in metros such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru where people are travelling, apart from planning trips to home towns, to destinations like Goa, Andaman and Nicobar. Beach destinations are popular amongst travellers for winter holidays.