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Business News/ News / India/ says India a priority market for inbound, domestic and outbound travel
Back Back says India a priority market for inbound, domestic and outbound travel

Before the pandemic was primarily an inbound platform as far as India was concerned, said Santosh Kumar, its country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia

Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at (Photo: Mint)Premium
Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at (Photo: Mint)

MUMBAI: India has emerged as a priority market for Amsterdam-headquartered, one of the world's largest online travel agencies. The company has seen a massive surge in users from India who are not just looking for travel and stay options overseas but within the country, too, said a top executive.

The company, which is the official accommodation booking partner for the ICC's Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, is expecting a massive inflow of tourists for the tournament in the next two months.

"India is a priority market for us globally and we want to continue to invest here as we see great potential in the market. We're doing a few things from a business perspective. One is from a supply perspective. We want to be very relevant so we need to have that depth of supply in India across tier I, II and III cities, or wherever Indian consumers want to go. In the past few years we have become more relevant as a domestic brand," Santosh Kumar, country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia at told Mint.

He said that before the pandemic, the company was primarily an inbound platform as far as India was concerned. "Now we have a lot of relevance for Indian consumers, which is why we have launched the website and app in Hindi earlier this year for both partners and consumers. We've also been investing in social media and have a separate Instagram handle for India. We are also looking at running more local campaigns and want to be more relevant," Kumar said.

The company is also building its backend in India. It has opened a centre of excellence in Bangalore, which has around 300 employees and will hire another 200 by the end of the year. These include experts in fintech, software development, engineering, and so on.

While he declined to comment on listings in India, Kumar said has 29 million listings globally, of which roughly about seven million are in the alternative accommodation segment. In the last quarter (April to June 2023) travellers booked 268 million room nights, of which 34% were in the alternative accommodation space. has been associating with sporting events globally, including the ICC for the past five years, and counts Indian men’s cricket captain Rohit Sharma as one of its global brand ambassadors. These associations have helped the company become one of the go-to destinations for booking stays.

"We are seeing a massive spike in searches for cities in India wherever there is a World Cup match. Seven of the top 10 most searched domestic destinations by Indian travellers from October 1 to November 20 include host cities New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Also, the UK, Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand and Sri Lanka are the top-5 cricketing nations visiting India from 1 October 1 to 20 November," he added. data reveals a significant rise in inbound travel, with flight searches from cricketing nations to India showing a 15% yoy growth on departures between October 1 and November 20.

While Australia has clocked a 31% increase in searches to India for departure dates in October as compared to the previous month, searches from England have gone up by 10% for the same period.

Not surprisingly Ahmedabad, which will host the opening match and the final, apart from the highly anticipated India vs Pakistan match, Delhi-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Ahmedabad are the top searched routes for 13 and 14 October. The city, which barely makes it to the top 20 routes on a regular day, is in the second-highest searched routes for 13 and 14 October.

Kumar added that post-pandemic, the number of trips people are taking on average has gone up despite higher prices. "People are also spending more, and so far high prices haven’t affected demand. I think at some point in the future, demand may be affected. But at the moment, we're not seeing that," Kumar added.

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Gaurav Laghate
Gaurav Laghate is the chief of Mint's Consumer Bureau that covers FMCG, consumer durables, retail, media, advertising, hospitality, luxury and the business of sports. An accomplished business journalist with a career spanning over 15 years, he has reported on the significant advancements in the media and entertainment industry, as well as the business of sports. Beyond his role as a journalist, Gaurav is recognised as a steadfast observer of the media landscape, having spoken at several industry events and panels.
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Updated: 03 Oct 2023, 06:39 PM IST
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