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Online travel portals line up incentives to woo customers

Online travel portals line up incentives to woo customers
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First Published: Fri, Sep 23 2011. 08 34 PM IST
Mumbai: Online travel agencies are devising ways to make the most of the coming peak travel season.
On Thursday, online travel firm MakeMyTrip Ltd, that runs makemytrip.com, launched a rewards programme for its loyal customers, named My Trip Rewards, in line with frequent fliers programmes managed by domestic and international airlines.
Rival firm Yatra Online Services Ltd, that runs yatra.com, has launched a special incentive programme for its top loyal customers. Yatra’s offer is in addition to its frequent flier programme.
Another firm, goibibo.com, is helping loyal customers structure their holidays and save on cost.
With all its festivals and holidays, the December quarter forms the peak travelling season—and India’s debt ridden airlines are trying to acquire passengers directly through their websites, in a bid to cut down on distribution costs.
The airports, too, are offering incentives to woo traffic. Hyderabad international airport started the ball rolling by offering incentives to travel agents to persuade passengers to travel via the airport.
It will soon reward passengers for using the airport as a transit point.
In a statement, MakeMyTrip said that under its rewards programme members can earn points for travel and also encash them at outlets of Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd and Future Group companies (Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, Central etc).
Pratik Mazumder, head of marketing at Yatra Online, said these measures are ways to keep the customers locked in for a long time by offering extra benefits for staying loyal. “We are offering special privilege to our top customers, special discounts .... This is over and above our ‘Yatra Miles Programme’, wherein passengers are able to redeem while buying a travel product after accumulating certain points,” he said.
According to the latest travel report by the Indian unit of Google Inc., travel-related queries on the firm’s search engine grew 59% in the year ended July compared with the previous 12 months. India is the third largest market after the US and China in terms of queries as more and more users are depending on the Internet, the report said.
Ezeego One Travels and Tours Pvt. Ltd and Cleartrip Travel Services Pvt. Ltd, two other leading online travel firms, said they do not have any conventional loyalty programme in line with airlines but both are offering discounts to their loyal customers.
“We are trying to give some interesting offers for customers. For instance, we are trying to help customers in structuring their holidays, saving 30-40% cost. We will give them options of staying at a different hotel or flying airlines without spoiling the spirit of holidays,” said Deepak Tulli, head of goibibo.com, run by Ibibo Web Pvt. Ltd.
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First Published: Fri, Sep 23 2011. 08 34 PM IST