Tough competition in the online travel sector has pushed Yatra Online Inc, which operates online travel portal Yatra.com through its India unit, into further losses. The company posted a loss of R83 crore for the three-month period ending March, FY17, more than doubling its damages as compared to a loss of Rs 34.7 crore in the three-month period ended March, in FY16. The March ending quarter was the first full quarter for Yatra as a publicly listed company. Yatra got listed in Nasdaq in December, 2016. As far as the entire financial year was concerned, the company had incurred a loss of `593.6 crore in FY17, as compared to a loss of Rs 124.3 crore in FY16.
The loss has increased despite the company seeing an increase in its revenue to Rs 240 crore during the March quarter of FY17, an increase of 18.5% over a revenue of Rs 202.5 crore for the corresponding quarter in FY16. The revenue for the whole year increased to Rs 934.5 crore, an increase of 12% over the Rs 833.8 crore of revenue that it earned in the previous financial year.
The online travel portal saw 6.9 million air passengers booked at a gross level, representing a year-on-year growth of 20.6%. Yatra which has about 2,300 employees globally also saw its personnel expenses increased by 38.9% to Rs 210.4 crore during the fiscal ended March 31, 2017 from Rs 151.5 crore in 2016. Marketing and sales promotion expenses increased by 45.6% to R245.7 crore in FY17 from R168.7 crore in FY16 primarily on account of increases in consumer promotion programmes, loyalty incentive programmes and brand spends on TV and print media.
Just two days ago, Yatra had roped in Bollywood celebrity, Ranbir Kapoor as its brand ambassador. The move follows Yatra’s rival MakeMyTrip’s decision to become the main sponsor of the SunRisers Hyderabad team this IPL season. Yatra was launched in August, 2006 by Dhruv Shringi, Manish Amin and Sabina Chopra. Apart from Yatra.com, the company also runs the hotel aggregator firm, Travelguru.com.
-Sameer Ranjan Bakshi