If you’re making travelers pay to access “exclusive offers,” you need to make sure the offer is worth the investment. Will Yatra keep its promises? Only time can tell.
Peden Doma Bhutia
Online travel platform Yatra.com focuses on personalization as a key factor in customer satisfaction and has launched a subscription program – Yatra Prime. The goal of the online travel company is to offer its members exclusive benefits and enhanced travel experiences through the program.
Although it is a relatively new concept for a travel company in India, Indian online travel companies like MakeMyTrip had previously started a non-paid loyalty program called MMT Black. It later introduced the paid subscription program MMT Double Black, which has since been discontinued.
EaseMyTrip also has a loyalty program – My Reward Program – that rewards customers with points for every booking made. These points can then be redeemed for future bookings or other travel-related services. In 2020, Thomas Cook India and SOTC launched Priority – a loyalty program that gave exclusive benefits to its members. Oyo also has Oyo Wizard for its members. However, these are not paid subscriptions.
“Today’s customers are actively seeking better services, memorable experiences and personalized interactions with brands,” said Dhruv Shringi, CEO and Director of Yatra Online. “Given the surge in travel bookings over the summer, the subscription service will enhance the travel experience,” Shringi said.
GlobalData’s report had highlighted the relatively young but disruptive nature of subscription services in the travel industry. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the travel and tourism sector has seen steady growth in subscription-related patent publications, totaling 7,936 in 2021, according to GlobalData’s Travel and Tourism Patent Analytics.
Travel subscriptions, in which travelers pay a monthly fee in exchange for benefits such as discounted fares and personalized travel content, are growing in popularity and are a powerful way for businesses to foster brand loyalty, the report says.
According to Yatra, their goal is to provide customers with the best offers through various channels while paying no convenience fees alongside ongoing bank promotions and offers. In addition, customers have the opportunity to earn Yatra vouchers by achieving spending milestones.
In a press release, Yatra announced the key features of its new subscription offering, including the absence of convenience fees, special fares on domestic airline tickets and access to dedicated customer support. The company also mentioned the ability for subscribers to earn milestone-based rewards during their membership term.
The subscription costs US$16 (Rs.1299) and is available for the first 10,000 subscribers at US$12 (Rs.999).
On March 31, 2018, Yatra enthusiastically introduced its exclusive membership program called Yatra Red Carpet. For just US$14.5 (Rs 1,199), Bollywood fans have been promised the ability to be notified when a celebrity books a flight. However, it turned out to be a playful April Fool’s Day prank.
Yatra, which has been listed on Nasdaq since 2016, submitted a draft Red Herring prospectus for a potential IPO totaling up to $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the country’s main securities regulator, in March . In its most recent earnings announcement in March, Yatra stated that it was “hopeful and confident of being able to complete the IPO in the near future”.
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