Info-tech bets big on online visa services

| Updated on: Feb 21, 2017
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To expand to smaller cities and towns

UAE-based, which entered the Indian market about six years ago, says it is trying to carve a position for itself in the highly competitive online travel segment by not getting into any kind of price wars, but with differentiating services. The company is betting big on its online visa services and is looking to expand that to smaller cities and towns, said Giya Diwaan, the recently appointed Country Head at Musafir India.

Musafir claims to be among the top-five players in the structured and organised OTA (online travel aggregator) segment that is dominated by MakeMyTrip-Ibibo with about 70 per cent. The rest is shared among Yatra, Cleartrip and Musafir, according to industry reports.

Musafir, which has former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar as an investor and brand ambassador, is targeting smaller towns and cities for its growth.

The company has doubled its business across all segments this fiscal (FY 17) and is expecting a similar growth in 2018 as well. “We are expecting a good year for the travel segment in 2018 — thanks to government initiatives and the digitisation drive. The whole segment got a big boost at 16-18 per cent CAGR with the demonetisation effect,” Diwaan said.

Diwaan is also fiercely scouting for a few tech start-ups and smaller travel companies that could help Musafir with its online strategy. The company initially entered India with an offline offering, but has fast transformed into an online player. “We see about 50 per cent of our consumers interacting with us using their mobile devices, and it contributes close to 35 per cent of our total sales,” she added.

The company is also adding other services such as forex and insurance, and more products in the holiday segment — starting from adventure trips, treks, home-stays and community living. It is also expanding its hotel partnerships, and plans to have about 2 lakh stays from about 85,000 at present.

Published on January 13, 2018

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