After demonetisation, online bus-ticketing platforms are enhancing their value-added services as more travellers are expected to go cashless while buying bus tickets. Bus travel marketplaces such as Travelyaari, TicketGoose and redBus are trying out new products and services as cashless bus travel gains acceptance, making it a more organised business post demonetisation.
“As bus travel goes cashless, we are looking at new services such as dynamic pricing and are in the process of developing an app for our service providers, says Arvind Lama, CEO and co-founder, Travelyaari. “We intend to increase our end-to-end services by adding weekend getaways, hobby-based activities, rooms, cabs and food services through our transporters and agents. With a GMV (Gross Merchandise Volume) of ₹600 crores, we expect to get profitable by the second quarter this year.”
Dynamic pricing platforms are also considering dynamic pricing to get more travellers on board. For instance, TicketGoose recently tied up with the Chennai Mathematical Institute for data to provide dynamic pricing to its customers.
Soon after demonetisation, TicketGoose also partnered with artificial intelligence start-up Niki.ai to launch a chatbot (a conversational app). Niki.ai plans to integrate value-added services such as cab and hotel bookings within the chatbot.
Karthi Easwaramoorthy, President and co-founder, TicketGoose, said: “Today, almost 70 per cent of bus travellers are in the 20-35 age group. The updated version of the TicketGoose mobile app through chatbot will provide customers the ease of booking tickets in a conversational manner like a chat. We have a GMV of ₹80 crore, and are planning to raise another $10 million to expand our services.”
Naspers-owned redBus, which witnessed a drop in online search and traffic soon after demonetisation, has also expanded its services.
New marketsPrakash Sangam, CEO, redBus.in, said: “There has been an increase in conversion rate after demonetisation, with a higher decline in offline sales. We have recently entered the chartered bus space, and are also testing a beta product for pilgrimages. In future, we will have to figure out new markets such as school and corporate travel with different value propositions in bus travel.”
The online bus travel segment is estimated to be a ₹30,000- crore category with a CAGR of 30 per cent.