Paytm sees regional language users driving travel business growth

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Updated: March 6, 2019 11:57:08 AM

Paytm eyes growth from regional language users in the travel market that has players like MakeMytrip, Yatra, Goibibo existing since around a decade,

Paytm saw around 75 per cent growth in the use of regional languages from tier-II cities to book tickets online.

Paytm Travel, the digital arm of payment and wallet company Paytm for booking online travel tickets is looking at regional language users in tier-II and tier-III cities to drive growth ahead. The travel business has 13 million customers, up from 9 million last year, Paytm’s Vice President and Head of Paytm Travel Abhishek Rajan told Financial Express Online.

“The maximum growth will come from regional languages hopefully going forward with Paytm’s increasing penetration in tier-II and tier-III cities. The next set of users coming online are from regions where they are comfortable in their native languages. So the use of regional language will become higher than what it is today,” said Rajan.

Back in 2014, online travel company MakeMyTrip, which competes with Paytm Travel apart from Yatra, Goibibo, etc., had reportedly introduced train booking service in five regional languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Gujarati.

Rajan claimed around 75 per cent growth in the use of regional languages from tier-II cities for booking travel tickets while from tier-III cities it is more than 100 per cent. The existing 13 million users are part of more than 300 million registered users that Paytm has.

“There is a huge unaddressed market that is looking to consume content in their regional language. We have a strong focus on enabling more such service for users to book travel tickets,” said Rajan.

For instance, Paytm Travel is exploring voice-based search feature initially for train tickets booking since the company sees “a larger share of users preferring to use vernacular language to book tickets.”

Users booking tickets, for example, type Delhi ‘se’ Patna while searching. “That’s because users are thinking in their local language only. Hence, we foresee a scenario ahead where 50 per cent of our transactions would be coming from users transacting in regional languages,” Rajan added without disclosing the transaction volume.

India had 234 million non-English language internet users in 2016 while 175 million were English users, as per a 2017 report by Google and KPMG India.

Paytm, in January this year had acquired last-minute premium hotel booking startup NightStay to further strengthen its hotel booking service.

India’s online travel market is expected to grow to $13.6-billion size by 2021, said a report by consulting firm Praxis Global last year.

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