Online travel business has largely been dominated by MakeMyTrip in India and its stake in the segment turned stronger when it took over Goibibo last year. The second and third positions in OTA space belongs to Yatra and Cleartrip respectively, but it’s no bother to MakeMyTrip.
The real concerns for the company in long-term are HappyEasyGo and Paytm.
Alibaba-backed Paytm has been claiming huge growth in overall online travel segment, however, its market share in flight ticket hasn’t been phenomenal. Meanwhile, a little known online air ticketing platform – HappyEasyGo’s growth seems to be curious and silent in making (akin to NewsDog and Club Factory).
Within a year of operations, it has left Paytm behind in terms of monthly flight ticketing volume. According to three Entrackr’s sources, the Gurugram-based company has been processing over 6,000 tickets on a daily basis.
For uninitiated, promoted by Indian entrepreneurs, HappyEasyGo is backed by Japanese, Korean and Chinese heavyweight investors.
“HappyEasyGo does about 1,80,000 to 2,00,000 flight ticket booking in a month,” reveal two sources aware with company’s traction. In comparison, Paytm does about 100,000-120,000 tickets a month while Yatra and Cleartrip process about 2,30,000 to 3,00,000 flight tickets every month.
Since its operations in India, HappyEasyGo (link) has been burning a lot of money to acquire customers. For an instance, it gives Rs 3,000 for downloading its app and an additional Rs 500 on successful referral.
“Not a single player in the travel domain has been splurging on acquiring customers as HappyEasyGo,” adds one of the CEOs of leading travel marketplace on condition of anonymity.
In a short span of time, the company has secured the fourth position in OTA space. The sources also indicate that HappyEasyGo (HEG) has been spending about Rs 1.3 crore on digital marketing every month. “Its monthly marketing budget is going to be doubled as the company is planning for an outdoor campaign in Delhi (NCR) and four other metros.
Entrackr has independently confirmed this with two agencies approached by the company for an aggressive outdoor media campaign.
“HappyEasyGo is eyeing to surpass Yatra and Cleartrip flight ticketing volume by the end of this year and clinch the second spot in OTA space after MakeMyTrip,” adds two of the aforementioned sources. Importantly, the company is all set to enable hotel booking from the next month.
“HEG is going to be as aggressive on hotel vertical as it has been on flight tickets,” add sources.
Unlike others in OTA space, HEG also allows users to transfer cashback amount straight to their bank account. It’s unusual as far as cashback or freebies offered by Indian companies are concerned. Generally, they allow cash-backs only to avail on further purchases (bank transfer are strictly not allowed).
Such a strategy by HEG is deliberate. “It wants to scale quickly and grab the second spot in OTA space by early next year,” explains the above-quoted CEO.
While HappyEasyGo is a new entrant in OTA space, it certainly has achieved significant space within a year of operations. Since the company is prioritising growth and doesn’t seem bothered about expense rate, it would be exciting to watch how incumbents – Yatra, Cleartrip and even Paytm cope up with an aggressive strategy adopted by HEG.
On a lighter note: Popular Chinese belief pontificates – ‘Scale can heal any pain’. Is it? Only, time would tell 🙂
Update: We have removed the name of investors as company has reached out to us saying the mentioned information isn’t accurate. We earlier mentioned that HappyEasyGo is a China based firm. It’s based out of Singapore. We sincerely regret the error.