Namah Chawla
Advertising

“We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets”: Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip

The online travel platform has released interesting ads on digital, print and outdoor media. A chat with its co-founder.

Be it during the first COVID wave, or now, when people have started travelling again, online travel platform EaseMyTrip continues to make its presence felt.

When the COVID-induced lockdown was imposed, EaseMyTrip tried to be in touch with its customers by regularly updating them about travel restrictions across the country. It also provided them with information on vaccines and various COVID protocols.

EaseMyTrip started using technology for processes that were human resource-intensive. It also undertook tech innovations, like a customer-friendly WhatsApp chatbot for customer bookings. The company automated processes like seat and meal booking, cancellation, customer service, among others.

Once the restrictions started easing, EaseMyTrip offered lucrative travel discounts and collaborated with retail players, like Lifestyle and Cult.fit, to provide additional benefits to travellers.

Speaking to afaqs!, Prashant Pitti, co-founder, EaseMyTrip, says that with the ongoing travel uncertainty, various platforms are now offering more booking flexibility and customisations to their customers.

Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip
Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip

According to EaseMyTrip’s data, the most searched option, while booking an accommodation or a flight, is a ‘flexible cancellation policy’. Almost 65-75 per cent of the travellers have opted for full refund booking options.

“The travel industry is going through a revenge travel phase right now. It is a key factor when it comes to the recent increase in passenger numbers. We are also seeing an increase in business class ticket bookings, which signifies that travellers are now spending more on travel,” mentions Pitti.

“We have also seen that air ticket bookings to and from Tier-II cities have been significantly higher than that of metro cities since the beginning of the second quarter. It means that people in Tier-II cities prefer air travel or other modes of transport due to safety concerns.”

Another important trend that the platform has witnessed recently is the increase in 4/5-star hotel bookings, as compared to the pre-pandemic period, with the average stay duration going up from about three days to close to five days. There is also an increased demand for private villas and homestays, as travellers find them safer.

Recently, afaqs! spotted some interesting full-page ads by EaseMyTrip in a national daily.

“We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets”: Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip

Pitti shares, “The idea (behind these ads) was to tell the untold story of EaseMyTrip. The story of a 100 per cent Indian company that is 100 per cent bootstrapped and profitable since its inception. We wanted to tell our exceptional journey, where we became India’s second-largest online travel platform, basis our honest and transparent efforts, such as hassle-free booking experience and zero convenience fee.”

“We put emphasis on building an efficient infrastructure, basis cutting-edge technology, to increase our operational efficiency. We changed the way people travel and this is just the beginning.”

EaseMyTrip has also been actively using in-flight branding space in SpiceJet, as well as boarding passes that are essential touch points for travellers.

“We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets”: Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip
“We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets”: Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip
“We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets”: Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip
“We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets”: Prashant Pitti, EaseMyTrip

Talking about the media mix, Pitti mentions, “We believe in having a balanced and right mix of both digital and offline. For us, a greater focus on high ROI marketing spending is imperative. We don’t believe in extravagant marketing budgets. So, we opt for relevant platforms to gain maximum interest of our customers.”

According to him, the decrease in passenger transport demand has been one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic. As a result, the most preferred mode of transport for travel, over the past few months, has been flights.

“We have witnessed a surge in air travel to smaller destinations. People want to reduce the travel time and are ready to spend more money. For destinations that are closer and accessible by roads, people are also opting to drive,” Pitti adds.

EaseMyTrip has also launched a feature that offers discounted air tickets to travellers with waitlisted train tickets.

On how the industry will shape up, Pitti says that travel in this new era has been redefined by new trends mostly around safety and technology. “We have taken proactive measures to curate special packages for domestic unexplored and offbeat destinations that are very much in demand. As we focus on offering the best value service to our customers, we also offer personalised experiences, basis their preferences and demands. We also offer weekend getaway packages, which include cab transfers, to provide a hassle-free experience to our customers.”

EaseMyTrip has also launched a free of charge, full refund medical policy through which travellers can claim a complete refund on domestic air ticket cancellations caused due to medical emergencies.

Air travel bookings constitute around 95 per cent of the platform’s revenue. EaseMyTrip is also growing its non-air travel businesses, including hotels, buses, trains and holidays, in double digits.

It recently announced the acquisition of Traviate, a B2B travel marketplace. The acquisition will add a new revenue stream and enable EaseMyTrip to do B2B hotel and holiday transactions.

“We also aim to rapidly grow across international markets. We have recently expanded our international presence to the Philippines, Thailand and the US. The company has forayed into these new countries in anticipation of a huge pent-up global travel demand in the coming months,” concludes Pitti.

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