Cleartrip, a Mumbai based OTA platform, has seen its business decline significantly in the past few years and has finally made a move to control its losses by laying off employees.
According to ET’s sources, the company recognised the twin factors behind this decline. One is the fact that online booking for flights and hotels has gone down in India. And the other factor being the merger of bigger rivals like MakeMyTrip and Ibibo that attract major traffic.
The online travel facilitator further tried to save this sinking ship by creating an ‘Experiences’ section on the portal, but that didn’t translate a major change in the traction or user base either.
Henceforth, to ramp down its loss creating operations and shift its focus elsewhere, the company had to resort to laying off 80-100 of its employees across Gurugram, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. The functions bearing the major brunt were business contracting and business development.
The plan is to minimize its functionality in India and focus on the Middle East, where the traction and user base is better than the home country.
However, Cleartrip denied any such plan, or development in the company and instead claimed a 25 per cent plus increase in the India headcount over the past half year. It further professed continuation in the development of tech and products for Indian customers.
This move would not be surprising, considering the fact that the online flight and booking segment in India is rampant with tough competition, and Cleartrip is not among the top names that comes to a users mind when looking for information and booking tickets and hotels.
Overall, even with a 17 per cent increase in revenue to Rs 320 crore and next to no change in losses, this could help the company in controlling expenses for FY19 and improve financials but paints a grey picture in the startup ecosystem.