Newly minted online travel unicorn EaseMyTrip is aggressively expanding its international operations riding on the back of its ability to offer lower service charges on air tickets. The Delhi-based company entered the coveted unicorn club last week when its market capitalisation crossed the $1 billion mark.
Besides its home market (India), EaseMyTrip is currently present in UAE, Singapore, the UK, the Philippines, Thailand, and the USA.
"To capture the international market, we plan to offer lower service charges on air ticket bookings as compared to the large players in these markets. We will be competing based on pricing as we will be able to offer tickets at a much better price. Further, we will leverage the same amount of efficiency and cutting-edge technology that exists in the company to serve these six international countries," EaseMyTrip co-founder Rikant Pittie said.
He said having operational and technology teams in India would help the platform afford low service charges. Besides, it is setting up low-cost subsidiary offices and significantly smaller teams in each location to connect with local partners and local airline carriers while partnering with local payment gateway providers to keep the costs down.
"We will be competing on the basis of pricing as we will be able to offer tickets at a much better price. So, for instance, if the average ticket price in the US is $15, we would be able to offer tickets at $5 and still be profitable. The other back-end operational work will continue from the India office. We grew in India by not charging a convenience fee and offering better pricing. We may use the same strategy in the other countries or charge a much lower service fee," Pittie added.
He said the company has always operated on a zero convenience fee model while most others in the industry have been trying to become profitable through extra convenience fees.
The company plans to launch localised travel search engines in each global market. The search engine developed for the UAE is live, and it targets to open two more websites by December.
"We anticipate a huge pent-up global demand for the travel and tourism sector by establishing our air ticketing business in these countries. We may look to expand to more viable countries if we see a strong performance and value addition from our existing subsidiaries," he said.
EaseMyTrip is a profitable online travel company that made public market debut in the midst of the pandemic in March this year at 10 per cent premium to the initial public offering (IPO) price of Rs 206 per share.
On Friday, the Delhi-based company's shares jumped 10 per cent to hit a record high market capitalisation of Rs 7,700 crore, making it the first and only bootstrapped travel-tech unicorn in India.
"We are delighted as it (the unicorn status) reflects the trust that our investors, partners, and customers have shown in the company as the stock market is not in our control. In an industry that witnesses exorbitant VC and PE funding, we are glad to remain 100 per cent bootstrapped," Pittie said.
Air-ticketing accounts for over 90 per cent of the company's revenue. Pattie said the focus is now on growing its non-air travel businesses, including hotels, buses, trains and holidays, in double digits. EaseMyTrip will leverage its existing base of customers for cross-selling and work with its agent network for holiday bookings which complements the company's hotel and holiday businesses.
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