The Indian tourism and hospitality industry, one of the key drivers of growth among the service sector, has got a big boost from apps. Travelling has been made easier. Apps have emerged for a myriad of tourism related activities that include cruises, adventure, medical, wellness, sports and ecological tourism. However, the maximum demand is generated from the hotel and ticket booking segments. The Indian market accounts for more than 3.7% of the global digital travel sales, making it the third-largest market by value in the Asia-Pacific region and apps have played an important role.
The consistently growing middle class and increasing disposable incomes are making the travel and hospitality sector adopt various tools, technologies, and digital platforms to improve customer experience. according to the KPMG and FICCI report titled 'Expedition 3.0: travel and hospitality gone digital', the hospitality sector in India is expected to grow at 16.1% CAGR to reach `2,796.9 thousand crore in 2022, . The online sale of travel bookings in India is expected to increase at a healthy rate of 14.8% annually from `151.27 crore ($22.3 billion) in 2017 to reach `262.57 crore ($38.7 billion) by 2021. The total contribution by travel and tourism sector to India’s GDP is expected to increase from `15.24 trillion ($ 234.03 billion) in 2017 to `32.05 trillion ($ 492.21 billion) in 2028.
According to a source from Oyo, a brand which has grown from an app based business to a global hospitality tech brand, “Oyo room's realised value run rate increased from $ 0.4B in December 2017 to $ 1.8B in December 2018 with a growth of 4.3x on y-o-y basis.”
The use of mobile devices will never stop and it will actually escalate in coming years. Hotel booking mobile apps are making booking hotel rooms really simple, letting users find, book and pay right. The mobile apps are highly useful and provide detailed property inventories from which the consumers may choose from. The hotels get the required digital visibility and a consumer gets to make informed choices and also avails various offers and discounts that these hotel booking apps offer. Guests can share their stay and dining experiences which are often used as reference points for future guests.All this is possible with the help of technology.
These apps have enabled year round business for many hotels which were earlier seasonal in character. Providing better occupancy in all seasons is positive aspect that these apps have added to the tourism market. Indirectly, by enabling seasonal players to operate year round, these apps are also contributing to employment generation.
Key players of the sector in the Indian market
Oyo Rooms was initiated as a start-up and has evolved into a global hospitality tech brand, offering hotel booking services, including premium properties, at attractive prices. The company is targeted towards the budget traveler.
Trivago helps to find good deals in the travel and tourism industry among many ongoing deals. It has a great database that allows the user to find last minute deals and discounts. It is largely useful for the impulsive traveler.
Goibibo has a good selection of budget hotels. Additionally, it also includes other tourism related services like booking bus, rail or flight tickets. It is a one step solution for the regular traveler.
ixigo shows the highest number of rooms per search. It also makes it easier to compare the prices of different hotel rooms and other services. ixigo is a great aggregator of hotels and hotel related services.
Cleartrip has been an old player in the industry. In fact, it is one of the pioneers when it comes to hotel booking. Cleartrip is an all-round app which facilitates other services along with hotel booking.
The company has gained a good amount of trust in the Indian market and is marked by good offline presence. MakeMyTrip is also an all-rounder app where other travel services such as flight booking, guide booking and list of local attractions are provided to the user.
In future, we may look for more specialised travel apps that will cater to specific target groups. Many of these apps are also turning into franchisees as a part of the phenomenal growth.