Exclusive: Paytm relaunches hotel vertical with focus on last minute bookings

Paytm

After taking a hiatus of about six months, Paytm has relaunched hotel vertical on its app. The Berkshire Hathaway-backed company had pulled off hotel vertical in March this year.

The recent app update (both iOS and Android) includes hotel offering across brands such as The Lalit, Radisson, Fabhotels, and Treebo amongst others in 15 top cities Delhi (NCR), Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune.

Adopting an altogether different strategy, Paytm has a sole focus on unplanned travel (usually last minute booking). Revisiting its past strategy, it has struck the deal directly with hotels. Previously, it used to offer inventories of aggregators such as Yatra, goibibo, and Via.com. 

Entrackr had exclusively reported about Paytm’s withdrawal from the hotel booking feature from its app.

It’s worth noting that the Noida-based firm had indicated to resume hotel vertical when it acquired last-minute hotel booking platform, NightStay. Paytm took over the four years old real-time hotel booking portal in a humble deal mix of cash and equity.

Unlike the previous attempt, Paytm has been betting on inventories that allow booking only three days away from the due booking date. That essentially highlights that the payments major is trying to dish out best accommodation deals for non-planned travellers.

NightStay used to offer unsold hotel rooms to consumers with steep discounts in real time, in a dozen cities. It raised funds in the range of $1.2 to 1.5 million in two rounds from angels syndicates including Letsventure and Indian Angels Network.

With resuming hotel vertical, Paytm once again begins competition with MakeMyTrip, Yatra, ixigo, Via.com, and several others. Interestingly, another SoftBank-backed hotel brand Oyo is missing from the platform while rivals Fabhotels and Treebo are listed.

Besides hotels, flight and entertainment, Paytm also offer train and bus tickets.

According to a report by Deutsche Bank AG – online hotel bookings segment is slated to grow to $2.3 billion by 2020.

Over the years, hotel vertical has been a major source of revenue for OTAs who have experienced margin erosion in air ticketing segment. MakeMyTrip along with goibibo (MMT and goibibo merged last year) has a pole position in both segments.

Since Paytm has rejigged its strategy to hotel booking business for the second time, it would be interesting to see how it competes with the likes of MakeMyTrip-goibibo, Yatra, Cleartrip, and others.

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