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“We Are Witnessing A Golden Era For Indian OTAs”

Prashant Pitti, Co-founder, EaseMyTrip tells about revival in the travel sector, highlights of the first quarter and much more

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The travel industry is on a revival path and so is the business of the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). EaseMyTrip that got listed at the BSE last year continues to do well at the bourses. Prashant Pitti, Co-founder, EaseMyTrip tells about revival in the travel sector, highlights of the first quarter and much more. Excerpts:  

Do you see a revival in the travel industry? By when do you expect a complete revival?

We are actually witnessing the golden years for the Indian OTAs as the travel and aviation industry is witnessing an upward growth trajectory. With the surge in demand and revenge travel, the industry is reviving sooner than anticipated and is seeing a positive outlook once again. People are not shying away from travelling. That said, our profits itself jumped by 125 per cent year-on-year and 45.36 per cent month-on-month in Q1FY23 which shows the recovery is on the right track.

Please expand on the first quarter highlights? 

The company did not only join the elite club of India’s first 100 unicorns last fiscal while remaining bootstrapped and consistently profitable but has also grown in Gross Booking Revenue (GBR) this quarter by 366 per cent to Rs 1,663.1 crore from Rs 356.7 crore as compared with Q1FY22 and Profit After Tax (PAT) by Rs 33.7 crore from Rs 14.9 crore year-on-year in Q1FY23. In spite of the challenges that came while the travel and tourism industry is reviving from the pandemic, EaseMyTrip has been instrumental in generating remarkable profits and reflecting resilience and strong fundamentals which have earned the trust of its stakeholders as well. We also launched the first-ever co-branded Credit Card and Debit Card with Standard Chartered Bank as a part of our marketing initiative to offer exciting deals.

Tell us about the expansion into international markets? 

EaseMyTrip remains true to its words and continues to expand globally. The company cites its entry to the new market - New Zealand by incorporating a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary, apart from its other subsidiaries in Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, UAE, UK, and USA.

In this aspect, EaseMyTrip has shown a stellar performance in its Dubai expansion and marked a cumulative GMV of 70.74 million in just three months.

We also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Tourism Authority to boost inbound tourism. Through this MoU, EaseMyTrip and Saudi Arabia Tourism will explore opportunities to jointly collaborate on key initiatives and undertake various activities to promote and develop quality tourism experiences in Saudi Arabia and expand its presence in the Indian market. 

How are you leveraging the growth? What are your plans under work? 

EaseMyTrip is focused on expanding its non-air verticals, this fiscal. In the coming quarters, EaseMyTrip aims to continue its growth across the air ticketing segment and expand its hotels and holidays segments too. To continue the efforts for global expansion, the company will further keep looking at profitable markets. Additionally, the company will also look to develop a FinTech arm, to provide customers with a ‘Buy Now Pay Later' option. We are witnessing the golden era for the Indian OTAs as the travel and aviation industry is showing an upward growth trajectory, with significant support from the government the industry is set to reach ultimate heights due to the growing demand.

How do you look back at the last few months? 

We celebrated our 14th year anniversary through planning a mega sale which offered lucrative deals to our customers. We had a successful initial public offer. We also continue to be one of the best performing stocks despite industry disruptions. We are one of the very few e-commerce platforms in the world that bootstrapped itself to the successful IPO. EaseMyTrip joins the elite club of India’s first 100 unicorns as the company’s market capitalisation crossed USD 1 billion in September 2021 and became one of the rare, listed consumer internet startups in the world to gain unicorn status while being completely bootstrapped.

What are the current travel trends?

With an underlying pent-up travel demand, we are witnessing growth in revenge travel. Due to the safety concerns, we expect a rise in demand for unique, unexplored destinations, short weekend getaways and road trips to nearby tourist destinations. Reunion travel is set to be a major trend this year as people look to reconnect with family by taking a quick getaway trip.

As an aftermath of the pandemic, there will also be a rise in the people that are opting for short getaways that offer wellness and self-care activities. This year, travellers are set to showcase an increased preference for locations that have focus on wellness activities that help them rejuvenate, take a break away from the monotony of their daily lives and lead healthier lives.

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Magazine 10 Sep 2022