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Goibibo banking on social media for success; eyes international shores now

09-September-2011
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Goibibo banking on social media for success; eyes international shores now

Online travel portal Goibibo, part of the social networking company ibibo, was launched in India in 2009. It currently serves the domestic travel sector in India on its portal and ranks as the fourth leading Online Travel Agency (OTA) in India.

The overall market growth for the online travel sector is about 10 per cent y-o-y. Goibibo, which claims a growth of about 100 per cent y-o-y, is now looking to expand to the international travel sector as well.

Speaking with exchange4media on what made the company different from other OTA players, Deepak Tuli, Head, Goibibo explained, “There are about 150,000 domestic flights every day. Like most of the Online Travel Agencies (OTA), we focus on the domestic flights at the moment. We launched about 20 months back and are now the fourth largest in the category and sell about 3,000 tickets in a day now. What differentiates us from our competitors is that we sell all our tickets online only. We do not have a call centre or a B2B player through whom our tickets are sold. We focus only on the sale of tickets through our website.”

ibibo is one of the established social gaming platforms. Leveraging on the expertise of the parent company, Goibibo focused on social media marketing to drive traffic to the website. Tuli elaborated, “We started off very small, and being a part of the ibibo Group, we looked to leverage on the traffic from ibibo. Other competitors such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra launched with full advertising on TV, print and so on. We, on the other hand, focused on the social graph only in the beginning. But because it is based on social, it took some time to pick up initially. But we have been growing at about 100 per cent y-o-y.”

Tuli believed that social had been the base of the marketing strategy for the travel portal. He said, “Being part of the ibibo Group, we breed on social. Till now, our 100 per cent spends were on digital. We have just made one TV commercial since our launch. Our strategy is about giving benefit to the consumer rather than paying a TV channel or newspaper for our promotions. We have a consumer-centric policy, meaning we would rather give a consumer value than pay money to bring a hundred people to our website.”

The portal relies on the members of ibibo as well as other social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to leverage traffic to the website.

The target group of Goibibo comprises the alpha users of the Internet. As Tuli explained, “Our TG basically comprises people who have a credit card and are Internet savvy, as we are purely an Internet-based travel company. This target group is very active on social media, which is the reason we focused on social media as a medium to reach out to them.”

Tuli is an advocator of social media marketing, and believes that this will be the reason that would give Goibibo an edge over other players in the market in due time. He elaborated, “Social has contributed immensely to our brand. Till now, wherever we are, we strongly believe it is just because of social. We understand the benefits of social well, unlike our competitors, and our forte is to leverage it for our business. Our gains are social, our platforms are social, and being a social networking company, we have a full team within the organisation that focuses on that. This is where I believe we have a lead on our competition.”

Though social media marketing has been the founding base, Tuli pointed out that the company was now looking to expand to other marketing channels and invest in expanding their products base as well. He said, “Social was our base in the starting, and by now we have seen a huge traction because of it. But now we are also looking to invest more heavily and expand our products base. We will be expanding our area into international hotels and flights as well.”

“While we will keep social as our key focus, we are also looking to start using other mediums for our marketing campaigns. So, in 4-6 weeks, we will be seen being active on other marketing channels such as TV, radio, print and OOH,” he added.

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