Travel marketplace ixigo has lofty ambitions. The company, which started out as a travel meta-search engine, has been slowly transitioning into an online travel agency (OTA), and has recorded significant transactions on its platform.
Now, the online portal wants to add content and entertainment to become a go-to platform for digital entertainment during travel, especially for train journeys.
“We want to be relevant to a traveller throughout his/her journey, pre-, post- and during the trip," said Aloke Bajpai, chief executive officer and co-founder, ixigo.
“We recently started engaging with content within the app, with news, radio and games, and are also going to tie up with OTT and original content players for this," said Bajpai. Ixigo has already tied up with digital entertainment platforms ALTBalaji and Khabri. The firm has also witnessed stupendous growth in 2018-19 on the back of more transactions and by adding new categories, while keeping a tab on marketing spends, said Bajpai. The Gurgaon-based company has clocked net revenue of ₹113.5 crore for FY19, an increase of almost 65% from ₹69 crore net revenue in FY18, the company said. Ixigo, which counts Fosun RZ Capital, Sequoia, and MakeMyTrip among its investors, said that it has clocked ₹1,500 crore in gross merchandise volume (GMV) in FY19.
“Ixigo is becoming more of a transaction business now," said Bajpai. “Two-thirds of our GMV is flowing through our own platform, rather than from our partners," he said. ixigo has also been increasing its focus on tier 2 and 3 cities, besides smaller towns, as it looks to capture new internet users. At present, 60% of the platform’s traffic and more than 50% of transactions are coming from smaller towns and cities.
The company expects the contributions from the smaller towns to further increase
“The growth in smaller towns such as Indore, Lucknow, Patna and Pune is at a much faster pace when compared to the metros," said Bajpai.
“For instance, in some of these places, almost one-third of the city has started using our app in just a month," he said.
The company was founded in 2006 by Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur graduates Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar, who was with Amadeus, a French travel sector-focused firm. Initially, ixigo was set up as a price-comparison website and would redirect users to agents or websites offering the best deals. Other players in this space include MakeMyTrip and Yatra.