Expansion mode. Cleartrip enters bus segment, to add railways soon

Cleartrip to offer packages, experiences, Visa, insurance and forex services over next 24 months: Prahlad Krishnamurthi, Chief Business Officer

Travel company Cleartrip, previously focused on air and hotel services, has entered the bus segment, and plans to add railways in the near future.

Prahlad Krishnamurthi, Chief Business Officer, said Cleartrip intends to launch multiple new lines of business in the next 12 to 24 months. Its future plans encompass various segments, including packages, experiences, Visa, insurance, and forex. 

“We’re making substantial investments in both technology and marketing, and I believe we’re well-positioned. Over the next six months, you’ll witness the introduction of several new lines of business, starting with the expansion of the bus segment. Over the next 12 to 24 months, we will add more services and products, to become a robust platform,“ he said.

“Cleartrip aims for a 50 per cent growth rate this year. Over 60 per cent of the workforce is engaged in projects and products not yet visible on the platform, signifying the company’s rapid expansion,” Krishnamurthi said.

Late entrant in bus segment

Despite entering the bus segment later than competitors, including RedBus, AbhiBus, and Paytm, he emphasised the importance of a strong customer value proposition. He acknowledged Cleartrip’s status as a late entrant and highlighted efforts to build a compelling offering.

While Cleartrip will be an online aggregator of inventory in buses for the time being, the company will provide an array of features to differentiate itself, including on-time performance, safety, and service quality. “We are confident that we will be able to offer the same level of inventory, if not more than our competitors, by September this year,” he said.

According to travel consulting firm Videc, Cleartrip holds approximately 8.5 per cent market share in the OTA segment, making it the second-largest player in India. MakeMyTrip is the segment leader, followed closely by EaseMyTrip (EMT) at 8.1 per cent.

In specific segments, Cleartrip ranks as the second-largest player in air and the third-largest in hotels. However, it is a recent entrant in the bus category, dominated by MakeMyTrip and Ixigo. Despite this, the intercity bus category is a rapidly growing segment within the Indian travel market, accounting for 14 per cent of the GBV in FY23.

Tie-up with Axis Bank

In a strategic collaboration, Cleartrip has joined forces with Axis Bank to extend exclusive benefits to the bank’s credit card holders. These including flight cancellations or rescheduling for just Re.1 under CT FlexMax. The partnership extends to complimentary seats, free meals, and waiver of convenience fees. Cleartrip plans to expand this partnership across international air travel, hotels, buses, and other segments.

Krishnamurthi emphasized that its acquisition by Flipkart has provided Cleartrip a substantial customer base, allowing it to confidently venture into new segments. The company has plan to enter these segments sequentially, aligning with Flipkart’s vision. Over the next 12 to 24 months, Cleartrip is set to establish its presence across various segments.

Read original story on The Hindu Businessline.