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Thursday, 24 October, 2019, 10 : 54 AM [IST]

‘We see a larger opportunity in the SME & MSME segments’

MakeMyTrip is betting big on the corporate travel segment with its acquisition of Quest2Travel. Rishi Raj, Chief Business Officer – Corporate Travel, MakeMyTrip in an interaction with Disha Shah Ghosh enumerates their focus on the sub-segments of corporate travel and their customer acquisition strategy.

Q. Corporate travel has emerged as an attractive proposition for growth. What kind of focus are you according to this segment?
A. In India, around 50% of travel happens from the corporate segment. Our focus has always been on B2C, but in the past 12-18 months we realised that corporate travel is a large segment that is untapped. We studied this segment and clearly, what came out is that there are three types of its sub-segments. They are the large Indian corporate houses, mid-size Indian companies and the SMEs and MSMEs. Basically, it is the large corporate houses that were getting some quality of service from TMCs, while the large part of corporate travel was untapped where the services were through unconsolidated shops offline. Therefore, we thought of playing in all the three segments, but specifically saw a larger opportunity in the SME and MSME segment. We built a product in-house that could cater to a mid-size corporate and micro SME customer, and now with Quest2Travel we offer solutions for large corporate entities as well.

Q. For a segment like corporate travel where there are many elements making it a complex set-up, how is MMT going to ensure that the service is going to seamless without human interaction?
A. I agree every corporate has policies, and savings is a big consideration. There are two needs of a corporate for their travel management – cost saving and delightful employee experience, and both need to be addressed. Contrary to what we think, management is best done online because it takes away any human judgment error. Therefore, when we are building our product in house, we make it such that any part of policy, control enforcement happens online and all approvals are also integrated.

The real delight is that a large part of miss-savings happens in corporate entities because a) the employee chose the wrong price or there is a delay in approval. By bringing both online processes, we are able to demonstrate real time savings because approvals happen online or via a WhatsApp message or through the app. Hence, online policy enforcement is far more robust than an offline mechanism. The other thing that we were able to deliver and that was not available before was really transparent pricing. The price that corporate sees vs. what exists. It is because of these applications that we are witnessing rapid growth. One more way that a corporate can drive savings on their travel is via drawing a GST invoice vs. a normal invoice. We can deliver the GST savings as well for a corporate.

Q. What has the acquisition of Quest2Travel brought to MMT in terms of customers and bandwidth?
A. The product that we built in house My Biz was essentially for mid-size corporate entities to SMEs – although we did start to go to large corporate offices as well then, but what we wanted was a product that was built essentially for large corporate houses. The second filter that we wanted to see was that it has to be a tech product and not a semi-online or offline product. Therefore, Quest2Travel brings to us a complete technology platform; it is a 100% online and offers an entire workflow of travel securement; and again corporate policies and B2B use cases online. Hence, it is a scalable product. They already had 200 large companies transacting with them and feedback received was that they are a robust platform. So our acquisition of Quest2Travel was based on these two principles that a product which could handle large corporates, a product that was completely online and hence, scalable and finally with the acquisition we are able to build our own understanding of corporate travel and B2B use cases.

Q. How will you reach the SMEs and MSMEs through this vertical?
A. The My Biz product was build keeping SMEs in mind. What we made is it is very simple to run, The SME can onboard itself online. The biggest problem reaching out to an SME and micro SME's scalability so if you are a product that is partially online and partially offline, then you need huge amounts of efforts to get a corporate online but our product is completely on boardable online. On our portal, they can just go online, download the app and start transacting. Another thing is that with this product, the SMEs get the same benefit that was earlier restricted to only large corporates - same pricing is now available to them. One thing that we have kept as our number one priority is the app first – so whatever technology we built is available on the app first. Hence, so from an end user point it is a delight – it gives you the power to choose and book your travel anytime on your mobile phone vs. opening a desktop. There are a lot of tech start-ups that are coming up and the product is built for them in that sense that it is a delight that you can onboard a complex solution with a very simple user interface.

Q. What kind of capital investment are you making for customer acquisition?
A. We have actually gone to the market post investing in product and technology. We have already invested in the right technology. Our cost to acquisition is quite low because most of my acquisition happens online by our CRM search engines, and we also get a lot of inbound referrals.

Q. What is your strategy to work in the B2B market considering players like hotels or car rental companies would be your vendors?
A. The way we see it is that we are a portal that will provide all the inventories to the end consumer. The idea is to ensure that every kind of inventory which provides benefits to the end consumer is on the platform. We ensure complete transparency in the pricing, and ensure that the corporate can put all its policies and all its controls on the platform. We are very clear in that direction that we will not make the choice for the end consumer, but let the end consumer choose from what is available.

Q. Anymore acquisitions on the corporate level space in the pipeline?
A. We are confident that we have the right products to service this part of the business so there is nothing in the near future.

 
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