We have more than 15 million monthly active users: Head- Brand Marketing, ixigo
Shuchi Chawla talks about the new trends in the travel industry and explains how marketing plays an important role in building the business
Tourism and travel industry in India is witnessing a huge upsurge in demand. According to a forecast by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Indian tourism sector is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 7 per cent over the next 10 years. One of the major factors contributing to this boom is advancement in technology and availability of digital tools. Mobile apps have brought about a huge transformation in the industry over the past two years.
We caught up with Shuchi Chawla, Head - Brand Marketing, ixigo, to understand how the travel industry is emerging, what are its various aspects and how marketing plays an important role in building the business.
Here’s is the edited excerpts:
What are the emerging trends in the tourism and travel sector?
Indians are changing the way they travel. Now, everyone wants to experience travel and experiential tourism is one of the key emerging trends, especially with the millennials. Another trend that has come up is short and frequent vacations. During long weekends, there is 30-40% spike in bookings across platforms.
With these kind of changes happening at the micro level, travel and tourism industry has seen a huge upsurge. Factors such as digital payment options, better internet connectivity and more active users are driving the growth in the travel industry.
What makes ixigo's content and video marketing stand out from the rest?
We usually start with understanding the objective of a campaign and carefully figuring out who we have to target. Our core idea is that the message should go across in the simplest way and a friendly manner because many times brands try to complicate the communication and do not understand the consumers’ point of view. We ensure that the communication is conversational in nature.
We ensure that all our communication is built for a low attention span. You will never find an ixigo ad that is 30 seconds long. We try to wind up in 15- 20 seconds. This strategy has really worked very well because it shows that we are quick, to the point and witty while delivering the message. We are able to catch the consumers’ attention within 5-6 seconds and this is what makes our content click across. The content must be share-worthy and leave a thought in the mind.
What kind of marketing strategy works for ixigo?
In terms of marketing strategy, we feel that travel as a product is assistive in nature. Lot of our marketing and communication strategy flows from our vision, which is taking the help of technology and providing personalized and customized solutions to the end consumers. So, be it in branded content or acquisition strategy, we try and replicate things more smartly. Two things that are important for us from marketing and brand standpoint are-- to create awareness and to maximize trails. We believe in pull communication rather than push and it must be focused, personalized and reach the consumers at the right time.
What kind of tools work for marketing-- experimental or influential?
Insights work for us. We try and understand the motive of a consumer behind looking at any piece of communication.
Till now, we have been able to drive conversation without any big names or influencer. Most of what we do is organic. Experimental marketing is coming up, but we believe that solving the basics is more important for travellers. We are just focusing on that right now.
We don’t see ourselves directly collaborating with any celebrity right now, unless we strongly feel about it. If a campaign demands, we might go ahead but not from an ixigo point of view.
How many transactions ixigo currently knocks in a month? At what rate is the company growing?
We have seen a phenomenal growth in the last four years. Currently, our year-on- year growth rate in terms of transaction is 3x to 4x and we have connected with more than 100 million travellers across India. In terms of monthly active users, we are well above 15 million right now and that makes us the second largest travel platform. We have achieved this without spending huge money on campaigns.
How are emerging technologies based on Cloud, AI and MI transforming travelling experience? How is Ixigo leveraging them?
We always say that we are a tech company in the travel space. We always feel that there are smarter and efficient ways to solve customers’ problems. The whole idea is to give personalized recommendations from decision making to travel plan process, with everything winding up in 5 to 10 mins.
The technology that we pursue can make travel assistance smart and hence TARA came into existence. It is a personalized voice- based travel assistant which is 100% AI- driven. It is an AI-based deep learning tool. TARA will be officially launched this year.
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