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Paytm travel ticketing volume triples in FY18, aims for two-fold growth this year

Paytm travel ticketing volume triples in FY18, aims for two-fold growth this year
Ankit Kumar

Paytm travel ticketing volume triples in FY18, aims for two-fold growth this year

Digital payments firm Paytm sold over 38 million bus, flight and rail tickets in the financial year 2017-18, up three times from the year before, as it sharpens its focus on the travel segment.

Noida-based Paytm, run by One97 Communications Ltd, is targeting a two-fold growth in 2018-19 across its flights, trains and bus ticketing businesses, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Paytm didn’t give a break-up of the bus, train and flight tickets sold. It also didn’t disclose its ticketing revenue.

The company said its bookings have surged since it entered the travel segment in 2016. It claims to be state-run IRCTC’s largest reseller of train tickets, the second-largest player for bus tickets, and among the top three players for flight ticket sales.

Abhishek Rajan, vice president and head of Paytm’s travel marketplace, said in the statement, that 85% of Paytm’s travel bookings are made through its app and 60% growth over the past year came from Tier II and Tier III cities.

Low cancellation fees and tie-ups with major airlines helped drive growth, Rajan said, adding that the company plans to double its tech team this year as its strives to provide a better experience to travelers.

Paytm competes with online travel services companies such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra in the ticketing segment. MakeMyTrip and Yatra are the biggest players in the flight ticketing segment while MakeMyTrip-owned redBus is a significant player in bus ticketing.

MakeMyTrip recorded 10.9 million air ticketing transactions during April-December 2017, compared with 6.7 million a year earlier, according to the Nasdaq-listed company’s latest regulatory filings. Its net revenue from air ticketing jumped 43% from a year earlier to $143.6 million for the nine-month period.

MakeMyTrip’s net revenue from bus ticketing was $11.6 million for the October-December quarter, helped by its acquisition of ibibo group, which owned redBus. The company reported selling 9.2 million bus tickets during the December quarter.

Yatra, also listed on the Nasdaq, booked about 6.4 million air passengers during the nine months through December, up from 5.1 million a year earlier. Net revenue from the air ticketing business rose to Rs 363.4 crore from Rs 264 crore.

E-commerce company Flipkart, too, entered the travel segment by partnering with MakeMyTrip in April. Initially, users can only make domestic flight bookings, and hotel, bus and holiday bookings will soon follow. MakeMyTrip will offer the services from its multiple brands, including its eponymous bookings site, Goibibo and redBus.

Paytm has been expanding its business offerings since its $1.4-billion (about Rs 9,000 crore) fund infusion from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp last year. It has expanded its travel and movie ticketing business and other areas that align with its payments business.

In March 2016, the firm had launched movie and events bookings on its platform. In March 2017, it tied up with US-based online travel portal Priceline Group’s Booking.com, for accommodation bookings on its platform.

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