Online travel discovery platform TripAdvisor will soon start hotel bookings on its platform, like competitors MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip. Until now, the company only allowed viewers to search and find travel packages and hotels, and compare prices, but through its instant booking feature, which was launched in the US last year, the company will enter the travel e-commerce space in India.
The online hotel booking industry, which is estimated at a billion dollars, is expected to become a $1.8 billion industry by 2016. For online travel agent (OTA) companies like Makemytrip (MMT), hotel booking was 48% of revenue in the first quarter ending June. According to the company’s projected outlook, hotel and packages would grow at 50% to 55% in 2016. MMT expects standalone hotel bookings to grow at 75-100% during the same period. In the same period MMT’s rival Cleartrip saw a 83% rise in hotel search, and 120% rise in room nights booked.
This is what TripAdvisor wants to capitalise on. “We are itching to launch it everywhere in the world, but the fact is that this is for the first time we have got into transaction area. India is definitely in the pipeline,” said Helena Egan, director of Industry Relations, TripAdvisor. “This is the first time we are processing credit card payments on our platform.”
Until now, if a TripAdvisor user wanted to book a hotel, the site would give pricing comparisons provided by OTAs, and take the user to the selected OTA’s site for the booking. TripAdvisor had only two revenue streams — take an annual subscription fees from sponsored listing on the site, and the other was “click per cost” when a person goes from the TripAdvisor site to a booking site.
According to comScore’s June report TripAdvisor ranked third after MakeMyTrip and ClearTrip. It reported traffic of 3,768 million unique visitors for desktop users. However, mobile contributes, 50% of Tripadvisor’s over all traffic, like it does for its competitors. Once, the product is launched, it will be available both on mobile and desktop.