The company’s latest “Tatkaal” offer allows people to book airline tickets and hotels at 50% off.
Normally, people associate “Tatkaal” tickets with train tickets as well as India’s notoriously glitchy IRCTC ticket reservation system. But Cleartrip wants to change that.
He announced the launch of a marketing initiative called “Cleartrip Tatkaal” which aims to gamify the experience of booking airline tickets as well as hotel reservations. If people are able to book tickets on Cleartrip Tatkaal with a discount code, they will be eligible for a flat 50% discount on bookings made at noon every day.
The company also released a campaign, conceptualized and created internally to promote its Tatkaal offering. Both ads refer to “good news” – in one case a pregnancy and in the other a startup founder receiving funding.
During a Zoom call, Cleartrip CMO Kunal Dubey mentions that this is a digital first campaign. He says that since most people who use the platform are digital users first, it makes sense to target them where they already hang out.
“The campaign is 80-90% mostly digital and we haven’t advertised on IPL this year. We’ve seen a lot of exposure in the Connected TV (CTV) avenue… our television commercials.
Dubey says Cleartrip has an audience of about 25 to 30 million people who have seen the ads on CTV.
He mentions that when it comes to travel, people don’t hesitate anymore. In fact, they want to go out and travel.
“People were very cautious about bookings last year as travel plans were subject to last minute changes. Trip planning is much more relaxed now. My prediction is that travel will increase. Stays will also increase.
Dubey points out that airlines are operating at 90% capacity, compared to pre-COVID levels, which indicates an increase in demand, not only for road trips, but also for flights and air travel. He adds that hotels are also seeing demand close to pre-COVID levels. This is a sign of hope for the tourism and hospitality industry.
“It used to be that people were planning a big trip or a long vacation, but the scale of travel has changed. Now people are taking shorter and more frequent trips. In this sense, weekends and long weekends have become more important than ever for tourists and the sector in general. »
It’s not just domestic travel that’s on the rise right now. The demand for international travel is also increasing. “Passenger traffic for domestic travel is at 98% of pre-COVID levels. For international destinations such as the Maldives, the Middle East, etc., many countries have eased their travel restrictions and we are seeing demand from that side again,” adds Dubey.
Basically, there are two types of travel – one for leisure and one for business. According to Dubey, the company is seeing a rebound in the B2B travel and business travel segment. “The growth rate of this segment has been phenomenally higher than that of leisure travel.”
In the past, Cleartrip competed with other online travel aggregators (OTAs) such as MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo, EaseMyTrip, etc. Cleartrip also competes with offline travel agents, which have physical office space and help customers book tickets for a fee.
Despite the pandemic, Dubey tells us that the ecosystem hasn’t changed much. The company still competes with these two types of ticket booking routes. Now users also book tickets directly from airline websites.
Before the pandemic, steep discounts were the basis on which a person would choose between these many similar-looking services, but that is no longer the case. “It all comes down to the trust a brand creates. A brand may offer deep discounts, but if people don’t trust it, they won’t fall for it. The service experience with ticket reservations, cancellations and overall flexibility, when it comes to travel, also matters a lot,” he says.
Dubey, who has worked for a long time as a digital marketer, says the strategy of building trust also applies to any other online service or brand. Some brands he has worked with in the past include Vedantu – an edtech platform (as head of marketing), PhonePe – a digital payment app (as head of commerce marketing), Flipkart (as head of Brand Marketing) and eBay India (as Head of Brand Management).
He also had an entrepreneurial stint at Dentsu Slingshot, with Lucky Saini (who currently heads up marketing at Meesho – an online shopping site).