Indian e-commerce platforms are diversifying services by integrating travel offerings to address a broader spectrum of consumer demands. This collaboration also helps online travel agencies to broaden their presence and accessibility within the Indian market.
The Skift India Newsletter is your go-to platform for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.
Online travel company Agoda has announced that it has partnered with Indian e-commerce platform Snapdeal to deliver what it calls cost-effective travel options for Indian consumers.
How Does it Work? Snapdeal will integrate Agoda’s travel services into its online e-commerce platform, allowing customers to book accommodation and travel services.
While Agoda looks to expand its reach in India through this collaboration, Snapdeal’s aim is to provide a unified experience for consumers, making travel planning more accessible and enjoyable, the two companies stated in a release.
Ecommerce platforms in India have tied up with online travel agencies to expand their offering to guests. Flipkart had previously tied up with MakeMyTrip to sell travel services, the Indian e-commerce giant then went on to acquire Indian online travel agency Cleartrip. Amazon has also tied up with MakeMyTrip to facilitate travel bookings.
Akasa Air Looking to Raise $400 Million: Reports
India’s newest entrant into the airline club Akasa Air is reportedly looking to raise $400 million as it seeks to increase its valuation from $650 million to $1 billion, according to Indian newspaper Mint.
Who Owns a Lion’s Share? The biggest chunk of the company is owned by the family of the late Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, with almost 46% share. Mint quoted people familiar with the matter to say that the Jhunjhunwala family, which owns the biggest chunk of the company (almost 46%) is unlikely to participate and could dilute its stake in the airline. Akasa Air’s co-founder and CEO, Vinay Dube, commands a little over 16% stake in the airline. Akasa Air recently included a 20th aircraft to its fleet making the airline eligible to fly international operations, the carrier has received the civil aviation ministry’s nod to operate international flights.
Akasa Air’s Pilot Problems: In a recent development, the abrupt resignation of more than 40 pilots, had forced Akasa to cut flights in the short-term. In a legal action, the airline brought these pilots to court, seeking compensation for the disruption in its operations and the harm inflicted on its reputation.
ITC Welcomhotel Coming Up in Kalimpong
ITC Hotels has signed a 70-key Welcomhotel Kalimpong resort under a management agreement with Pravez Constructions. With two luxury properties — ITC Royal Bengal and ITC Sonar — in West Bengal, ITC’s Hotel Group looks to build its presence in the state with eight hotels across various segments.
Portfolio: ITC Hotels’ portfolio currently has 25 Welcomhotels across India with more in the pipeline. New properties under the brand cover destinations such as Manali, Jim Corbett, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Chail, Katra, and Guntur.
Hotel Spinoff: Last month, the ITC board approved a proposal to demerge the company’s hotel business and separately list it on the stock exchanges within 15 months. ITC’s Hotel Group has more than 115 hotels with over 11000 keys across more than 50 destinations in the country. The group operates under six distinct brands — ITC Hotel, Welcomhotel, Fortune, WelcomHeritage and the latest additions being Mementos and Storii.
Air India’s Codeshare With AIX Connect
Air India has entered into a codeshare agreement with AIX Connect, formerly known as Air Asia India. Over 100 flights a day operated by AIX Connect will feature Air India’s “AI” designator code on 21 routes to begin with. The airline has said more routes will be added progressively.
What Does This Mean? The codeshare enables Air India guests to connect seamlessly on AIX Connect’s route network to and from over 80 points across the carrier’s extensive domestic and international network.
Baggage Allowance: AIX Connect would also honor the free baggage allowance mentioned on tickets issued by Air India. Guests connecting on to AIX Connect flights would also get complimentary meals on board, which otherwise would have to be bought. The baggage allowance would be especially helpful for international passengers landing in one of the Indian airports with a further domestic connection.
New Destinations: Through this agreement, Air India will now expand its domestic route network to Bagdogra, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, and Surat. AIX Connect is a 100% subsidiary of Air India, which is in the process of being integrated with Air India Express (another 100% subsidiary of Air India) to ultimately form a single low-cost carrier within the Tata group’s airline business.
EasemyTrip Launches Smart Voice Recognition Technology
Indian online travel agency EaseMyTrip.com has introduced a voice assistance tool to help travellers plan and book their journey.
What Does It Do? Called the EaseMyTrip Smart Voice Recognition, the tool, that uses advanced AI and machine learning, comes with a custom natural language processing engine to ensure accuracy in interactions. The technology allows travelers to express their requirements in their own language while providing product recommendations for flights, accommodations, vacation packages, trains and buses.
Linguistic Diversity: The tool understands and responds to multiple Indian languages, a perfect fit to India’s linguistic diversity. This voice recognition technology exemplifies the platform’s dedication to inclusivity and accessibility for all Indian travelers. “With shorter attention spans and grander ambitions, travelers are increasingly seeking convenience when planning their journeys. Our smart voice recognition technology becomes their guiding light, offering a streamlined command for all their travel needs,” said Rikant Pittie, co-founder of EaseMyTrip.
Indigo’s Central Asia Connections
Indian low-cost carrier Indigo has announced the commencement of operations to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Indigo now operates thrice weekly flights between Delhi and Almaty. This will be Indigo’s 32nd international and 111th overall destination.
Central Asia: Indigo has been steadily increasing its presence in Central Asia. Last week, the carrier commenced four weekly non-stop flights connecting Delhi and Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.
In August, Indigo announced operations to Baku in Azerbaijan four times a week and IndiGo has commenced direct thrice-weekly flights to Tbilisi in Georgia. Kazakhstan’s low-cost carrier FlyArystan has also launched operations connecting Delhi with Almaty. The airline operates three times a week but plans to increase service to Delhi and other Indian cities in the coming months.
Visa Power: Kazakhstan allows Indians 14 days of visa free travel.
Skift India Report
The Skift India Report is your go-to newsletter for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.
Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch
Photo credit: Agoda has partnered with Indian e-commerce platform Snapdeal. Flickr / Flickr