Skift Take

Wondering where is the next billion opportunity for India's travel industry? Meet the rising middle class with increased disposable incomes.

In this episode of the Skift India Podcast Aloke Bajpai, the CEO and co founder of Ixigo, talks to Skift Asia Editor Peden Doma Bhutia about the “next billion Indian opportunity” in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. Bajpai narrates how the substantial increase in disposable income among the rising middle class in India is rapidly reshaping the country’s travel landscape. Bajpai also talks about the long-awaited Ixigo IPO. 

Bajpai discusses show Ixigo places a strong emphasis on creating a culture of empathy and ownership among its employees, which has greatly contributed to the high level of customer satisfaction they provide. Bajpai highlights the importance of understanding the Indian travel market, noting that only 25% of the market is currently transacted through online travel agencies (OTAs). He believes that the real growth will come from reaching the next billion users, especially those in smaller cities and emerging middle-class consumers. Ixigo aims to tap into this potential by expanding its services beyond flights and trains, including packages, tours, and hotels.

Bajpai also discusses Ixigo’s move into AI-driven solutions and the role of AI in the OTA industry. Ixigo has been an early adopter of AI, introducing chatbots and leveraging large language models to enhance user experiences. He describes the evolution of AI as transformative for top-of-the-funnel behaviors, making trip planning more personalized and interactive.

Regarding the topic of an IPO, Bajpai shares that Ixigo is currently focusing on execution and will consider public listing in the future, with a possibility of evaluating it next year. This is in line with the growing trend of Indian travel companies going public, demonstrating the maturity and profitability of the sector.

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Photo credit: The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Puneet / Unsplash

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