Cab-hailing platform Ola has expanded its corporate travel product in international markets such as Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom, as the startup looks to shore up revenue after demand for urban mobility services India declined sharply due to the covid-19 outbreak.
Ola's corporate cab hailing platform has been adopted over 10,000 users in the Indian market. The platform helps organizations cut employee travel expenses by up to 25%, due to its centralized billing system, which eliminates the need for paper-based reimbursement.
Ola Corporate clients operate the service through a personalized dashboard where they can add and manage employees. The fares are paid automatically through the company’s Ola Corporate balance and can be viewed and downloaded at any time from the dashboard.
In Australia alone, the market potential for corporate travel includes over 2.3 million businesses, who have a need for business travel solutions, according to Ola's estimates. Currently, Ola has around 75,000 drivers registered in Australia present and another 25,000 riders registered in the UK.
“We have seen a 50% demand revival in ridership in the Indian market and mobility is very central to economic progress, and as more industry segments and offices upon up we will see more demand revival in certain cities we operate in. A large use case for mobility in India and in our foreign markets currently is people going to workplaces, and therefore demand for business travel is going-up," an Ola spokesperson said.
The cab hailing firm’s decision to expand its corporate services in all its international market shortly after it laid-off more than a third of its employees globally. As many as 1,400 out of Ola’s 4,000 employees lost their jobs in May when the downsizing was announced publicly. However, Ola’s employees in overseas markets such as the UK and Australia, as well as its electric mobility unit weren’t affected by the layoffs.
In India, a two-month nation-wide lockdown that began from late March to early June has put the majority of drivers out of their jobs forcing them to sell of their own cabs. Likewise, demand for cab aggregators and other urban mobility products such as bike-sharing, vehicle and others have also taken a hit as a majority of Indians still continue to work from home.
Other mobility firms have also been cutting jobs to conserve cash amid a steel fall in demand. In May, Ola’s rival Uber let go more than 6,000 employees across all its operations. Uber has pledged to pay out $145 million in severance and other benefits to employees.