Boris Zha, Founder & CEO, HappyEasyGo speaks about the upcoming trends and his future expansion plans
One of the recent entrants in the Indian OTA space, HappyEasyGo is witnessing a significant growth in the India market. With a special focus on providing travellers with the best deals, HappyEasyGo also provides the lowest price guarantee, 300% compensation for the difference fare.
How has the year been for the group? With the second wave hitting India, what is the current status of travel bookings? How do you foresee the future of travel industry in India?
The year has been a rollercoaster ride as we saw the second Covid wave and several lockdown phases. But the learnings have been immense through the highs and lows that we experienced in this year. June has been a good month for us and we have seen a 3x growth in hotels and 5x growth in our air ticketing business. We could see a quick growth on both, demand of Accommodation and Flights through search queries in the market.
The year looks very positive for us as travel industry is expected to see the highest spike of the decade in the coming few years considering the restrictions on travel since the onset of 2020. I believe the past two years have made people realise the need and urge to travel like before and it is potentially expected to change the dynamics of the industry for good for many more years to come.
What are your further expansion plans? Are you also looking at international expansions? Are you also further investing on tech-driven solutions?
In a very short span of time, we have been able to experience the best times and sail through the testing times and gather the learnings, understand the dos and don’ts and the what’s and how’s of the industry and bring the best practices into execution to reap benefits for not only HappyEasyGo but also share those benefits with our customers through various cashbacks, discounts and the best fares in the industry. Yes, we would definitely be looking at expanding internationally in the years to come and apply the learnings of the Indian market to other market, because India is the most dynamic market as we can gauge through our experiences.
To further tap the growing domestic market, are you introducing any new campaign? Are you planning any incentives for fully vaccinated travellers to boost travel?
Yes, now we are offering some high discount offers on some reputed hotel brands, through our bank and wallet partners. We will soon be coming up with very competitive offers to boost the morale of fully vaccinated travellers as well. Also, our teams are working on a very robust campaign for the Indian market which will encourage travellers to take the big leap and break free from their comfort zones.
What are the new trends the group is witnessing in terms of booking patterns?
We are seeing the market revive with the start of June. The numbers are quite positive and we are witnessing an upward trend in the number of hotels and flight bookings since the lockdown policies of a lot of states have eased.
We continuously witness from our trends that people are enjoying the culture of "Staycation" and “Workation” booking properties within the city range for a change to break the monotony blues that they have been putting up with for the past few months. Community sales was also our key focus and started during the epidemic.
We have seen a 5x growth on air ticketing business and 3x growth on the hotels business in June 2021 which are very promising trends for us to extrapolate for the current and expect a 200 per cent growth versus last year considering our current trends.
As MICE and corporate segment being an important segment, by when do you foresee the revival of these segments?
The impact of Covid for all the segments has been very unpredictable, so it is difficult to comment on how soon these segments would be able to revive. We are surely hoping for more and more people to get vaccinated before the next financial year. We would like to Congratulate the governments and the medical aid providers and the health departments to collaborate and ensure vaccination to 43.92 Lakh people till date. The faster more people get vaccinated; it will lead to sooner revival of the MICE and corporate segments. We are also focusing on providing more flexible and custom-made business travel plans for SME owners
Earlier the consumer loyalty factor was extremely low in the OTA business, has this trend changed? Also, do you see any change in the consumers behaviour, as earlier OTAs were purely discount driven? What are your strategies?
As the times have changed now and the industry being more matured, consumers expect better; in terms of platform experience, user interface, more customised approach and better customer service. Though it is always our focus to provide the best deals to our customers, but, in today’s scenario safety and hygiene plays the most important role and, in our case, we ensure that we tie up with hotel partners who ensure and adhere to following strict safety and hygiene practices as per our standard protocols. Our Staff Vaccination finder also helps the customers to make more informed choices in terms of planning their travel. Customer Safety is our key focus and goal in current times.