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If you are making travelers pay to give access to "exclusive deals" you need to ensure that the offer is worth the investment. Will Yatra deliver on its promises? Only time will tell.

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Focusing on personalization as a key factor in customer satisfaction, online travel platform Yatra.com has launched a subscription program — Yatra Prime. The online travel company aims to provide exclusive benefits and enhanced travel experiences for its members through the program.

Though a relatively new concept for a travel company in India, Indian online travel companies like MakeMyTrip had earlier launched a loyalty program — MMT Black — which was not paid. It later launched a paid subscription program MMT Double Black, which has now been discontinued.

EaseMyTrip also has a loyalty program — My Reward Program — that rewards customers with points for every booking they make. These points can be then be redeemed for future bookings or other travel-related services. In 2020, Thomas Cook India and SOTC had introduced Priority — a loyalty program that entitled its members to exclusive benefits. Oyo also has Oyo Wizard for its members. However, none of these are paid subscriptions.

Customers today are actively seeking elevated services, memorable experiences, and personalized engagements with brands, said Dhruv Shringi, CEO and director of Yatra Online. “Amidst the surge in summer travel bookings, the subscription service will enhance travel experiences,” Shringi said.

GlobalData’s report had highlighted the relatively nascent but disruptive nature of subscription services in the travel industry. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the travel and tourism sector witnessed a steady growth in patent publications related to subscriptions, totaling 7,936 in 2021, according to GlobalData’s Travel and Tourism Patent Analytics.

Travel subscriptions, where travelers pay a monthly fee in exchange for benefits like discounted prices and personalized travel content, are gaining popularity as an effective way for businesses to foster brand loyalty, the report had noted.

According to Yatra, their goal is to provide the best deals to customers through various channels, ensuring zero convenience fees alongside ongoing bank promotions and deals. Additionally, customers have the potential to earn Yatra vouchers by reaching spending milestones.

In a press release, Yatra announced the key features of their new subscription offering, including the absence of convenience fees, special fares on domestic air tickets, and access to dedicated customer support. The company also mentioned the opportunity for subscribers to earn milestone-based rewards during their membership period.

The subscription that comes at a price of $16 (Rs 1299), is available to the first 10,000 subscribers for $12 (Rs 999).

Back in March 31, 2018, Yatra had excitedly unveiled their exclusive membership subscription program called Yatra Red Carpet. For a mere $14.5 (Rs 1199), Bollywood fans were promised the ability to be notified whenever a celebrity booked a flight. However, it turned out to be a playful prank for April Fool’s Day.

Yatra, which is listed on the Nasdaq since 2016, filed a draft red herring prospectus in March with the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the country’s main stock market regulatory body, for a potential initial public offering aggregating up to $100 million. In its last earnings call in March, Yatra had said that it is “hopeful and confident of getting the IPO done in the near term.”

JettWings to Start Flights in October

Guwahati-based carrier JettWings Airways is set to launch operations starting in October this year, catering to the northeastern part of India. The airline, which received its flying permit yesterday, plans to offer regional connectivity to passengers under the regional connectivity scheme to destinations in the northeast and eastern region initially, it said in a statement. JettWings plans to introduce a fleet of modern flight deck turbofan aircraft in addition to turbo propelled ones with premium economy services to its passengers. 

“We believe that under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik Scheme, we have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on the northeast region by improving connectivity and creating new economic opportunities,” said Dr Sanjive Narain, chairman of JettWings Airways.

France Tourism Launches E-Learning Program For Travel Agents

France Tourism Development Agency, Atout France has launched an e-learning program ‘France Connaisseur’ for travel agents in India. The 15-module content includes information on accessibility, accommodation, sightseeing and gastronomy of each of France’s regions and its overseas territories. Additionally, informative trivia and lesser-known facts with videos and photos illustrate the varied touristic offerings of the country. The program is devised in a way that users can complete it at their own time and pace without a deadline. Upon completion, users are required to take a final assessment test before receiving a certificate. Travel agents can log on to this link, complete registration formalities and access the e-learning platform.

Airline Prices Drop After Government Advisory

The overall average airfares on 10 domestic routes have declined significantly, and the trend is likely to continue in the coming weeks also, according to an analysis based on aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s data. The 10 routes are Delhi-Srinagar and vice versa, Delhi-Leh and vice versa, Mumbai-Delhi and vice versa, Delhi-Pune and vice versa, Ahmedabad-Delhi and vice versa. In recent weeks, there has been a surge in airfares on certain routes, mainly due to a capacity crunch and suspension of operations by crisis-hit Go First since May 3. Against this backdrop, concerns have been expressed in various quarters, and the civil aviation ministry early this month asked airlines to devise a mechanism to ensure reasonable pricing of air tickets.

Uttarakhand Airport Near China Border to Resume Services

Uttarakhand’s Naini Saini airport, which shut down within a year of beginning operations in 2019, is set to become functional once again connecting the remote, hilly area of the northern state to the rest of the country. Aviation watchdog Directorate General of Civil Aviation has granted an aerodrome license to the state’s civil aviation development authority, which currently manages the airport located close to the India-China border in the Pithoragarh district. Earlier, the airport was operational in 2019 with flights to Delhi and Dehradun, but operations were stopped within a year due to technical glitches. Currently, Uttarakhand has two major airports — Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun and Pantnagar airport in Udham Singh Nagar.

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Tags: airfares, dgca, easemytrip, France tourism, india, makemytrip, oyo, skift india report, travel agents, uttarakhand, yatra

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