Q. What services do you offer when it comes to choosing and booking budget hotels?
A. We, at Yatra.com, have over 60,000 domestic and 5, 00,000 international hotels linked to us worldwide making us the largest hotel aggregator amongst all the Online Tour Agencies (OTAs) in India. We offer a wide range of hotel choices to our customers right from a room for `250 per night to a five bedroom villa for `25,000 per night. Customers can choose the hotels on the basis of amenities offered, price range, star rating, location, user reviews, etc.
Q. How do you choose or tie-up with such hotels?
A. We have a large field team who are constantly looking to add new hotels to our listings as we seek to be the preferred choice for anyone looking for any accommodation in India.
They visit the property, talk to the owners/managers, source all details about the property, and then, the property gets listed.
Q. How do you gauge their quality and security standards and to what extent does this figure in the hotels you feature in your platform?
A. We are a platform that believes in showcasing the largest range of accommodation options in India as there are a large variety of customer segments that we cater to ranging from the budget travellers to customers who want luxury properties.
Therefore, our approach is to share all details about the property such as amenities, photos, location, star rating, and user reviews, and help our guests to make their choice based on such specific parameters. Of course, our field team does a base level check to ensure that the safety of our customers is not compromised.
Q. What plans can a budget hotel undertake to woo customers?
A. There are many ways in which a hotel can attract more customers – competitive pricing and special services (such as free Wi-Fi, room upgrades, etc.) being a major differentiator.
A customer looking for budget hotel would be highly price conscious and hence, offering a lucrative deal can pique his interest.
In addition, these hotels can also promote themselves through the featured hotels slot at the top of the search result page for their destination. This position draws a lot of traveller views and helps the property increase their bookings.
Q. What deals and incentives are you offering travellers this festive season?
A. Yatra has regular promotions and offers running on hotels bookings and this will be the trend throughout the festival season.
Q. In terms of market share, how do you see the growth prospect of budget hotels in the near future?
A. Budget hotel as a segment has grown exponentially in the last year and we expect the trend to continue. As per a report shared by Google India, the branded budget hotel queries in India are growing by 179% year on year as compared to just 36% year on year growth in standalone budget hotel queries. Hence, there is huge scope for this segment and it is estimated that this segment will help bring over 10,000 new rooms online this year.
Q. Will a reduction in base price of rooms apart from the service tax help hotels reach out to new customers?
A. Reduction in base price of rooms can help but only to a certain extent. There are lot of other factors which act as influencers such as the kind of service they provide, the conduct of the staff and online reviews. Hence, they need to ensure that they provide a great 360 degree experience.
Q. In this regard, how can premium travel portals like Yatra help to form a connecting link between budget hotels and customers?
A. Yatra has a huge base of travellers visiting its website and mobile applications every month, which provides a budget hotel the platform to reach a large number of potential customers. Moreover, we have access to lot of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools that help us understand the emerging buying patterns and enable us to target the right customer with the right product mix. This helps budget hotels target the right customers. In addition, these hotels also benefit from the different marketing promotions we run from time to time.