Cleartrip is one of the most looked upon online travel companies in India having a market share of 35%. The company was launched back in July 2006 with an objective of ‘making travel simple’ for its customers. The company offers exclusive destination information, competitive prices, multiple payment options, choice without confusion, and convenience with a customer-centric approach.
The company has its headquarter in Mumbai and provides online booking services for train and flight tickets, international and domestic holiday packages, and hotel reservations.
Hrush Bhatt and Stuart Crighton are the founders of Cleartrip and the name was suggested by Hrush Bhatt. Before Stuart found Cleartrip, he was working with Abacus Distribution Systems, Asia’s leading GDS as Head, South and West Asia.
ClearTrip being an online booking company faced a tough time in gaining credibility due to the Indian mindset. However, the company upheld integrity and transparency which are the core values of the brand. ClearTrip approached its users at every touch point and managed to establish a presence.
However, ClearTrip reached the stage of saturation in terms of online conversions. Google search seemed to be more reliable for people and hence in order to overcome the stage of stagnation, ClearTrip decided to leverage the social media and mobile to reach out to the customers.
Strategies adopted by ClearTrip
ClearTrip is all about making travel simple, it has no pop-up windows or glittery things on its portable. Ever since its inception in 2006, the top business online travel booking company has underlined the importance of non-revenue generating products as well as redefined the online travel booking experience.
In 2006, there was a boom in increasing penetration of credit cards for online books, online railway bookings, and low-cost carriers witnessed by Indian travel industry. That time, ClearTrip launched the idea of ‘Making Travel Simple’ and selected a right operating model for itself after much brainstorming.
The company makes maximum use of technology and finalized on a cent per cent pure online model rather than opting for offline mode of conduction.
Applying analytics was important to achieve a customized approach. Once the users downloaded the application, their entire approach to conversion behaviour was tracked. Different buckets were created based on user behaviour. According to the downloaded data, different customized offers were targeted at different customer groups. Customized exclusive offers were launched for different groups.
After analyzing the market conditions in 2006, Cleartrip team found that Indian travelers are willing to book domestic flights online but not international flights, hotels, etc. Therefore, it started off by offering domestic flight tickets. Soon after, the portal started to offer hotel inventory online.
Even after the challenges, Cleartrip.com begin with the hotel booking options as an experimental model and received an outstanding response. Along side, they started putting up pictures and few fast facts of every hotel in its listings. Although it was a non-revenue generating option, it directly impacted the booking behavior of end customers. This helped in the huge success.
In the October of 2008, the portal included international flight booking option and received a great response for Middle East, UK, and US routes. Therefore, the core business strategy of the portal is to make sure online books are quick and products are launched at the right time as well as in sequence.
Customized options were sent to the consumers as there was the availability of mobile and website application to track the behavior of the users. For instance, if a user had searched for flights to Mumbai in his last search, he would be reminded about that as well as existing offers related to that search would be directed to him. If a person is only looking for night flights, she would be prompted with information about flights on his next login with the pop-up ‘we know you like to travel on night flights’.
With the help of such focused and deep approach pleasantly surprised the consumers and hence helped in higher conversions. Consumers started relying on the website for more searches as they knew Cleartrip would take care of every minute travel requirement.
The finding of the research showed that a wide range of users relied on their phones for bookings. Cleartrip revamped their end-to-end processes in order to make it more user-friendly and hence, make Cleartrip a preferred travel planning website. Some the key designs were:
Cost break-up by the traveler
If a customer was booking for family or friends, a little display of fare to be paid by each person appeared which makes collections easier.
Uniform itinerary format
Limited screen size demanded cutting down a lot of useless information with a strong visual hierarchy in order to make it readable from a distance. The display of itinerary was consistent for trains, hotels, and flights.
Trips by travelers
Trip list could be filtered by travelers who had booked earlier. This helped in making the bookings easier and quicker to find the ticket details booked a month ago.
Higher conversions were achieved by the strategy. There was an increase in the registrations a the brand reached an entirely new set of audience. The cost-per-conversion improved by 40 per cent better than before.
Almost 70 per cent of the advertising spend of Cleartrip is online. Improvising on their existing medium was the strategy that Cleartrip adopted.
With the help of a simple yet smart strategy, ClearTrip had higher rates of conversions. With this strategy, the company achieved its position in the top companies.
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