ixigo Business Model & Growth Strategy

ixigo is an Indian online travel agency (OTA) founded by two IIT-Kanpur alumnus Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar in 2007. It is one of the leading travel agencies with a 46.15% market share in the OTA rail booking and a customer favorite for train and bus bookings..

ixigo Business Model & Growth Strategy
Do not index
Do not index
CTA Headline
CTA Description
CTA Button Link

Introduction: What is ixigo?

ixigo is an Indian online travel agency (OTA) founded by two IIT-Kanpur alumnus Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar in 2007. It is one of the leading travel agencies with a 46.15% market share in the OTA rail booking and a customer favorite for train and bus bookings. The story of ixigo starts with this duo getting the entrepreneurial itch while working in France. What started as a meta search platform for flights has evolved into a full fledged online travel agency.
notion image
ixigo, despite facing near-bankruptcy situations and several pivots in their business model, has thrived due to its founders' resilience and adaptive mindset. Their commitment to solving customer problems has driven strategic pivots that kept the company relevant and competitive.
ixigo started off as a meta flight search engine where it listed airline fares, hotel and ran ads for the same but they soon realised, despite reaching a large audience, this model was not scalable.
It then pivoted to a planner and advisory business where they helped users with curating a trip using the information available on the ixigo platform. They realised they were burning money as they couldn’t monetize their platform and cross-sell services to their user.
Finally, they decided to give it their all and become a full fledged online travel agency; a decision that really turned the tide and helped generate ample revenue to become one of the leading OTAs in India.
💡
If you are interested to uncover business models of D2C brands you can check out Nykaa Business Model, Zepto Business Model & other blogs here.

TL;DR

ixigo’s journey starts with a humble beginning from a one-room office in New Delhi. The co- founders' wanted to enhance the user experience for Indian consumers, a vision that aligned with the growing demand of convenient modes of travel booking. But how does an OTA like ixigo operate?
We’ll discuss the business model of ixigo and its growth strategy in this comprehensive blog.
Alternatively you can also watch this GrowthX Wireframe video we created to help you understand ixigo’s business model.
Video preview
 

💡
GrowthX is an invite-only club for ambitious founder & growth leaders.
Our members are top founders, product & marketing leaders from 2,400+ internet companies like Google, Canva, CRED & Netflix.
The GrowthX Membership is built on 3 core pillars:
First, learning experience
Learn the science of revenue-led growth with frameworks actionable the next Monday morning.
Second, curated community
access to a safe space for you to soundboard anything that is stressing you at work.
Third, professional outcomes
Over 35% of members are founders & are able to hire growth teams to scale revenue for their companies while operators are able to get into breakout leadership roles.
 

What Problem does ixigo solve?

ixigo recognized a significant market gap: while most companies focused on the top 100 million users, there was a vast untapped market facing unique travel challenges. This included the next-billion users, travellers from Tier II, III cities, and rural areas in India, as well as new internet users from lower-income groups.
Next billion users’ refers to an existing as well as anticipated market of “new to Internet” users that includes all non-Tier I market demand i.e., all travel demand originating from and/or concluding in Tier II, III and rural areas in India as well as “new to Internet” users emerging from middle and lower income groups of Tier I cities.
To address the challenges of this underserved segment, ixigo developed all-inclusive travel solutions that cover the entire journey—from planning and booking to on-trip support. This holistic approach ensured consistent support throughout the travel experience, going beyond just ticket booking.

What is ixigo’s moat?

The competitive Indian OTA market, which is valued at a staggering $17.24 billion with OTA giants like makemytrip, yatra are trying to capture has propelled ixigo to build quite the fortress around itself.
  1. Focus on Next Billion Users (NBUs): ixigo has smartly targeted the next billion users, focusing on smaller towns and cities where 94.39% of their transactions originate or conclude. They've tailored their app which is available in 8 languages with localized content and features, making travel planning easier for Tier II/III city dwellers.
localized content on ixigo-Trains app
localized content on ixigo-Trains app
  1. Railway Prioritization: While others were focused on flights and hotels, ixigo took the rail route seriously. ixigo-Trains app provides useful user-generated intercity railway information from Indian Railways, which has earned them significant popularity through word-of-mouth from 2014 to 2018. Over 2.4 crore passengers use trains to travel in India. They're even a principal service provider for booking e-tickets, with their IRCTC agreement renewed and extended till 2028.
  1. Innovative AI-driven Features:
  • ixigo assists travelers in making “smarter travel decisions” by leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science-led innovations on their OTA platforms. TARA (AI bot) handles 83% of customer queries - which reduces employees’ strength and cost.
  • ConfirmTkt, one of ixigo’s train booking app, is built around predicting confirmation chances for waitlisted tickets which is is powered by learning of seat allotment patterns on trains and machine learning algorithms built on historical data.
UI for the confirmtkt app
UI for the confirmtkt app
☝🏻
In 2023, ixigo became the first OTA in India to launch a Generative AI based travel planning tool, PLAN to help travellers plan their trip, get itineraries and real time information and recommendations based on input criteria.
  1. Generous Refund Policies: They don't just stop at bookings. ixigo offers robust value-added services (VAS):
  • It secures the bus travel passenger through its Abhi Assured program and offers 100% refund for bus cancellation, delay, bad quality of service or rebooking from the customer end.
  • In the air segment, ixigo offers two VAS, namely Assured (Fully refundable) and Assured Flex (Fully Flexible / Refundable), these are priced starting at ₹ 399 and ₹ 499, respectively, Assured Flex is unique in the domestic air travel market, offering free change of date, change of sector and Free Cancellation, unlike any other OTA.
In essence, ixigo has carved out a niche by understanding and catering to underserved markets, leveraging technology innovatively, and setting high standards in customer care and service offerings.

OTA Market Overview

Macroeconomic Overview 🔍

The economy of any nation has several macro factors that influence the growth of any sector. In the case of OTAs like ixigo, we can analyse various factors listed below that play a role in the growth of the travel agency industry and how it shapes the consumer behaviour of this market.
  • Household income growth
  • Expense Patterns
  • Internet adoption
  • Mobile penetration
  • Government initiatives and policies
  • Online payments
To add more context, watch this GrowthX inner circle episode to analyse India’s growth story and its impact on the business world.
Video preview
Now that you have some context, let’s see what these factors currently convey and project.
Household Income Growth
There has been a steady growth in per capita income which has led to rise in discretionary spending on travel and tourism; adding more tourists on the map.
notion image
Expense Patterns
Essential expenses like food, housing, and transportation account for nearly 60% of the annual expenditure of an average Indian.
Apart from this, we’ve noticed an ongoing trend in discretionary spending, wherein people are spending more on travel and tourism, from 17.4% in 2015 to 20.2% in 2019. The reasons for this are:
  • Availability of low-cost travel
  • increasing income per household
  • flexibility options, and
  • increasing competitiveness in offers provided by OTA.
Internet adoption
Internet infrastructure is foundational for the success of any online travel agency. As, internet subscriptions increase penetrating deeper in Tier II & III cities and towns, more users are are exposed to digital solutions to services like travel agencies.
India has a total of 918.19 Million internet subscribers in 2023, which accounts for ~50% of the Indian population.  Over a third of them — 375.66 Million — now come from rural parts of the country.
Mobile internet growth is faster in Tier II, III, and rural areas compared to Tier I areas.
notion image
The overall rural internet subscribers are expected to increase from 375 million in 2023 to 824 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 18%.
notion image
Mobile Penetration:
  • India is a mobile internet market, with smartphones being the primary device for internet access.
  • Smartphone penetration is expected to reach over 90% of total mobile subscribers by 2028.
  • Key drivers for this are lowest data usage prices globally, the average cost per GB is one of the lowest at $0.16 per GB, increased access to online content, entertainment, and e-commerce.
As most users in India access the internet via smartphones, OTAs can reach a broader audience by optimizing their services for mobile devices.
Today, ixigo garners 9.2 million traffic via mobile devices, 8.2 million of it being organic traffic. This shows that users are more comfortable using the apps and website on their mobiles due its user-centric design. Higher mobile penetration also means users can book travel services anytime and anywhere, increasing engagement and transaction rates.
The market currently has intense competition among telecom operators and smartphone manufacturers which is driving down prices and improving service quality. The will surely keep up with growing demand for mobile devices and eventually services like online bookings.
Year
Smartphone User (Millions)
2023
931
2025
1100
2028
1550
There’s also a huge market for second-hand smartphones, which is fuelling this market penetration. Take a look at this Growth X Insider episode, where Khyat, a GrowthX member narrates the journey of Cashify, which successfully capitalized on the second-hand smartphone market and are a leading e-commerce platform.
Video preview
Online Payments 💸
  • UPI accounts for 73% of total digital payments in terms of volume in 2023.
  • UPI's share of total digital payment value increased from 5% in 2022 to 7% in 2023.
  • ixigo earned ₹467 crores as revenue from payments effected through credit cards, debit cards, internet banking, wallets, UPI and other online payment options which is ~93% of the total revenue from operations!

Travel Industry 🌏

The GDP contribution by the Indian travel and tourism was ₹ 16.5 lakh crores in 2023.
The Indian travel and tourism market size accounts to around ₹3.8 lakh crores in 2023 and this is expected to grow to ₹5.9 lakh crores in 2028.
The overall travel market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9%.
Indian Travel Market Size
Indian Travel Market Size
Global Travel Trends
In recent years, emerging global trends are redefining how people explore the world, making travel more accessible, efficient, and conscious of its environmental impact. Here are some of the trends that caught our eye:
  1. The Rise of Digital Nomads A significant trend in global travel is the increase in digital nomads—individuals who work remotely while exploring the world.
  1. Trips Planned Around Sporting Events Fans are now planning trips around athletic events, not just to support their home teams, but also for their favorite sports, beloved teams, or international multi-sport competitions.
  1. Solo Travel Solo travel is becoming increasingly popular, with people finding it easier to schedule trips and customize them to their preferences. This trend is ideal for those looking to recharge after a hectic week.
  1. Spontaneous Travel Plans In an era where much of life is structured and scheduled, travelers are seeking flexibility and spontaneity. This has led to a rise in last-minute bookings, one-way tickets, and other options that allow for a sense of adventure and discovery.
These insights indicate a shift in consumer behavior towards more flexible, personalized, and responsible travel options, with a significant influence from the growing availability of online booking platforms and the increasing awareness of sustainability.
 
Domestic Tourism Trends 💭
From an Indian POV, the surge in regional tourism is notable post-pandemic with people stepping out and yearning for adventure. Thanks to OTAs, booking and planning has become all the more easier and encouraged people to try out new forms of travel. The following trends have influenced how and where Indians travel:
  1. Convenience of Booking with OTAs
    1. Consumers prefer online travel agencies (OTAs) for the ease of booking. OTAs help in reducing information gaps and allow for better comparison of travel options.
  1. Rise of Experiential Travel
    1. Younger travelers are seeking unique and personalized experiences rather than traditional packaged holidays. There is a growing demand for trips that offer memorable experiences and adventures.
  1. Focus on Affordability
    1. Middle-income consumers are increasingly able to afford travel, including luxury destinations, thanks to deals and budget-friendly options. The trend shows a shift towards destinations that offer value for money.
  1. Growth in Responsible Tourism
    1. Tourists are becoming more conscious of the environmental and social impacts of their travels. There is a higher preference for sustainable and eco-friendly travel options.
  1. Popularity of Wellness and Staycations
    1. The practice of Ayurveda, yoga, siddha, and naturopathy is drawing tourists to wellness destinations. Staycations, where travelers stay at luxurious hotels for relaxation and stress relief, are on the rise, especially post-COVID-19.
  1. Emergence of Workcations
    1. The trend of combining work and vacation has become popular, especially during and after the pandemic. Non-tier I cities are becoming preferred destinations for workcations, with many people choosing to work from their hometowns or vacation spots.
       

Passengers Carried Across Different Modes of Transport

How do passengers in India travel?
This question is crucial to ask for OTAs like ixigo to identify product-market fit and strategically position their services, as understanding passenger movement helps in planning and deploying targeted routes and services.
  • In India, out of 14 crore daily commuters, road and rail transport handle more than 75% and 24% of the travel needs, respectively, collectively meeting 99% of the country's passenger demand.
  • Land transport is divided into 60% intra-city and 40% inter-city traffic.
Intra-city travel means travelling from one part of the city to another. For example, travelling from Churchgate to Dadar in Mumbai would be considered intra-city travel.
Inter-city on the other hand, means travelling from one city to another. Let’s say, travelling from Bengaluru to Mysore by train, this would be considered inter-city travel.
Modes of transportation for Indian passengers
Modes of transportation for Indian passengers
  • The bus segment, including both long-haul intercity and intra-city buses, serves 2.5 crore daily passengers, a number comparable to rail traffic.
  • In contrast, daily air travel, despite reaching a record high of nearly ~4.6 lakh passengers in November 2023, accounts for less than 1% of the daily transport needs of Indian citizens.

Money Spent Across Different Modes of Transport

Money spent on road travel is the largest segment (79%) indicating preference for personal or local travel methods, likely due to cost-effectiveness, convenience, and infrastructure availability.
Whereas, railways spending accounted for 17%, which shows significant usage for longer domestic trips, highlighting the extensive and affordable railway network in India.
Overall spend on travel in India
Overall spend on travel in India

Government Initiatives to boost tourism and travel

The travel industry in India has greatly benefited from various government policies aimed at increasing both domestic and inbound travel. These policies span across all segments of air, road, and rail transportation to ensure efficient movement across the country.
Tourism Initiatives
Initiative
Description
Budget Allocation
UDAN scheme
1. Aims to improve the connectivity to rural and underserved regions of the country with simultaneous development of airport infrastructure and air connectivity. 2. It has facilitated the air travel of more than 13 million air travellers and is expected to grow to 500 million by 2027. Around 499 new air routes have been operationalized since the commence of this initiative. 3. As of July 2023, there were 74 airports under UDAN scheme, including 2 water aerodromes and 9 heliports. 4. The Government has approved scheme for the revival and development of 100 unserved and underserved Airports, Helipad and Water Aerodromes by 2024.
Continuously funded; significant contributions to aviation sector growth.
Swadesh Darshan
It is an integrated approach to provide lasting visiting experiences by creating tourist circuits on specific themes to attract both domestic and foreign leisure travellers.
₹1750 crores for the fiscal yar 2024-25
Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD Scheme)
Its primary objective is to enhance awareness of religious tourism by identifying and developing tourist destinations across India in an organized and sustainable manner.
₹240 crore for the fiscal year 2024-25
Airports announced under UDAN Scheme
New airports announced under the UDAN scheme
New airports announced under the UDAN scheme

Budget Allocation for Road and Rail Infrastructure

Budget allocation for road and rail infrastructure is significant for OTAs as it enhances connectivity, increases travel frequency, and improves accessibility. This boosts demand for travel services, allowing OTAs to expand offerings, target a larger customer base, and capitalize on improved travel experiences.
One such budget allocation was made for the Golden Quadrilateral, one of the prominent projects to connect 4 metropolitan cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. This ~5600 km road project made movement of men and goods easier and faster, boosting tourism and improved connectivity. As ixigo is fiercely planning to capture the rail and bus segment; it is all the more important to keep a look out for policies and budget allocations in these sectors as new routes would in turn mean new audiences and a bigger audience to cater to.
A. Railways
Railways is a state-owned national railway system, managed by the Ministry of Railways. The government invests in it through budgetary allocations, public-private partnerships, and borrowing from financial institutions to build infrastructure, purchase rolling stock, and maintain and upgrade tracks, stations, and services. India currently has about 2.3 lakh buses, of which 1.4 lakh are run by public transport authorities.
Following are some of the highlights of the recent budget allocations by the government of India:
  • Union Budget Allocation
2024 saw a record-high capital expenditure of ₹2,52,000 crore allocated for the railways.
  • Construction Achievements
In 2023-24, the railways constructed 2,966 km of track, averaging 8.12 km per day, with a goal to construct 7,000 km of track over the next ten years.
  • Station Development
Under the Amrit Bharat Station scheme, 1,318 railway stations have been identified for development, with 1,251 stations upgraded so far.
  • Train Procurement
The Indian railway plans to procure trains worth ₹1,000 billion to cater to passenger growth and eliminate waiting lists by 2030.
 
B. Roadways
Indian roadways encompass a vast network of national highways, state highways, and rural roads. The government invests in building and maintaining them through budget allocations, public-private partnerships, and toll revenue.
  • Union Budget Allocation
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways was allocated ₹2.72 trillion for capital expenditure in the 2024-25 interim budget.
  • Highway Construction Goals
The government aims to construct 65,000 km of national highways at a cost of ₹5.35 lakh crore.
  • Procurement of e-buses
The government has proposed to allocate Rs 1,300 crore to procure electric buses for public transportation under the PM-eBus Sewa scheme. Under the scheme, 10,000 electric buses will be provided to 169 cities under the public-private partnership model.
 

OTA Revenue split from different segments

Airlines

Indian Air travel market size
Indian Air travel market size
The high online penetration (70% in 2023) and expected growth (to 80% by 2028) in the air travel segment are crucial for ixigo. This penetration signifies a large and growing market where ixigo can capture a significant share by leveraging competitive pricing, user experience, and loyalty programs.
Market Influence
Airlines were the earliest adopters of OTA channels, contributing significantly to the value of bookings due to high-ticket sizes.
The early adoption of digital booking platforms by airlines set a precedent, making it easier for consumers to shift from offline to online bookings due to the ease of use and the transparency in pricing and options.
Impact of Government Infrastructure Spending & Macroeconomic Factors
Government spending on infrastructure, with initiatives like the UDAN scheme will improve overall connectivity and accessibility. This enhances ixigo’s potential market, as improved infrastructure supports more travel and, consequently, higher demand for OTA services.
The Airlines market is not just growing, but also extremely competetive. One good example is how Air India is planning to beat Indigo Airlines. In this edition of our Wireframe we explain Air India’s $90 Billion strategy to become the champion of the airline industry.
Video preview
 

Railways

Indian rail travel market size
Indian rail travel market size
With 81% of rail tickets booked online in 2023, rising to 86% by 2028, ixigo stands to benefit from the growing preference for digital rail bookings. Enhanced digital infrastructure, AI tools and user-friendly features will drive this shift, presenting ixigo with opportunities to capture a larger market share.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) platform revolutionized rail ticketing by providing a convenient and efficient online booking system. The widespread availability of internet access and mobile apps further facilitated this shift.
Impact of Government Infrastructure
Government infrastructure investments will improve travel networks and accessibility, boosting demand for rail travel. Economic growth will increase disposable income, leading to higher travel expenditure, which ixigo can capitalize on through its OTA platform.
 

Hospitality

Current Penetration:
Online penetration in the hotel market was 32% by value in 2023 and will grow to 44% in the next 5 years.
  • The hospitality sector has been slower to digitize due to the fragmented nature of the market, especially in Tier II and Tier III cities where many hotels still operate offline.
  • Many smaller hotels lack the infrastructure or expertise to manage online bookings, and OTAs need to invest in integrating these properties into their platforms.
However, increasing internet penetration and digital literacy, along with the growing popularity of online reviews and competitive pricing, are expected to drive more consumers to book hotels online. This is working in favour of OTAs as users can find all these use cases in one single platform and seamlessly book their stays.
 

Buses

Indian bus travel market size
Indian bus travel market size
With online penetration for intercity buses at 19% in 2023, expected to grow to 28% by 2028, ixigo can capitalize on this growth by enhancing its digital offerings and capturing a larger share of the expanding market.
How will macroeconomic factors affect this growth?
Government spending on road infrastructure will improve travel efficiency and connectivity, making intercity bus travel more attractive. Economic growth and increased internet access will further drive the shift to online bookings.
 

OTA Business Models

  1. B2C Segment
Consumer Travel market insights
Consumer Travel market insights
B2C Model is where consumers directly book their tickets through OTAs, on the basis of where they find cheaper prices or better services. For example, buying tickets to go to Kashmir for a holiday.
The B2C market is valued at ~ $19 billion with a customer base of ~15 million.
This segment has been the traditional mainstay of the OTA industry since it first started and accounts for 60% to 65% of the OTA market in 2023.
It is also from the core B2C segment, that the OTAs can extract maximum value through cross selling of value-added products and services.
 
  1. B2B segment
Corporate travel market insights
Corporate travel market insights
The B2B travel segment within OTAs specializes in serving corporate clients with tailored services such as company-specific booking codes for cost-effective travel solutions.
  • With a significant market opportunity in a $32 billion corporate travel sector encompassing over 400,000 SMEs, B2B OTAs leverage personalized service and strategic partnerships to enhance client relationships and drive growth.
  • This segment is poised to double in size over the next five years, driven by India's economic growth, the implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax), and increasing activities in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sectors.
  • B2B OTAs enjoy higher profit margins compared to the price-sensitive B2C segment and face less direct competition from airlines in catering to the specific needs of corporate India.
Overall, B2B OTAs in the Indian travel market are poised to benefit from their ability to cater to the specific needs of corporate clients through personalized service, cost-effective solutions, and strategic market positioning.
 
  1. B2B2C Segment
In Tier-II & III cities where internet penetration and consumer trust are challenges, the B2B2C model is prevalent. This model involves traditional travel agencies using OTA portals or B2B consolidators to reach customers, particularly SMEs who may not typically approach larger OTAs directly.
  • B2B platforms like Travclan operate on the B2B2C model, focusing on serving smaller enterprises with booking solutions. However, opportunities for cross-selling additional services are limited in this model compared to direct B2C interactions.
  • While B2C remains dominant in revenue generation, there's a growing shift towards B2B2C in the Indian OTA industry. By 2028, it's anticipated that the share of B2B transactions within the OTA sector will continue to rise as more OTAs target agents and smaller businesses, recognizing the potential in this segment despite its current smaller revenue contribution.

 
💡
GrowthX is an invite-only club for ambitious founder & growth leaders.
Our members are top founders, product & marketing leaders from 2,400+ internet companies like Google, Canva, CRED & Netflix.
The GrowthX Membership is built on 3 core pillars:
First, learning experience
Learn the science of revenue-led growth with frameworks actionable the next Monday morning.
Second, curated community
access to a safe space for you to soundboard anything that is stressing you at work.
Third, professional outcomes
Over 35% of members are founders & are able to hire growth teams to scale revenue for their companies while operators are able to get into breakout leadership roles.
 

ixigo’s competition

Players in the OTA industry
Players in the OTA industry
For this piece we will only consider the top 4 multimodal travel players as an OTA (Online Travel Agency) in the Indian landscape which include MakeMyTrip, EaseMyTrip, Yatra.com, and Cleartrip.
Comparison between the top 5 Indian OTAs
Comparison between the top 5 Indian OTAs
🏠
House of Brands Approach: Most players use a multi-app multi-brand approach to capitalize on the fragmented use cases for customers which allow a more focused and customized experience across these apps.
However, companies integrate and plug services so that the user can be redirected instead of switching apps. For example, a customer can book a flight on the ixigo train app or Confirmtkt app and a bus on the ixigo flight app, and a train on the Abhibus app etc.

MakeMyTrip

  • MakeMyTrip is the current market leader in the OTA industry, with an annual revenue from operations of ₹6500 crore in 2024.
  • They currently have a market share in India of more than 60% of the total revenue.
  • A horizontal acquisition of Goibibo helped in increasing their Indian market share from 35% to 60% in 2017 and significantly increased the gap between them and their peers.
House of Brands: MakeMyTrip owns MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Redbus and Redrail, each having its own app and a multimodal use case.

EaseMyTrip

  • EaseMyTrip was started India in 2008 by serving the B2B2C market segment. They operated initially as a distribution channel and provided travel agents with a marketplace to book domestic travel airline tickets to cater to the offline travel market in India.
  • In 2024, Easemytrip’s consolidated annual revenue from operations is ~₹600 crore.
  • In 2024, Easemytrip was the third largest OTA by Operating Revenue.
  • Currently, they have a presence in all 3 customer segments—business to consumer (B2C), business to business (B2B), and B2B2C.

Yatra

  • Yatra.com was the largest B2B OTA in India in 2024, accounting to over 849 large corporates and 56,000 SME clients with the acquisition of Air Travel Bureau—a corporate air travel portal in 2017.
  • In 2024, Yatra’s annual revenue from operations was ₹ 107.3 crore.
  • It is the fourth largest OTA by Operating Revenue in India but a market leader in B2B OTA segment with 6% market share.
  • With its platform as a service (PaaS) for large and medium enterprises and its self-booking platform for SMEs, Yatra.com is addressing the entire corporate travel market in India, which remains relatively underpenetrated, and it is betting big on corporate travel.

ClearTrip

  • Founded in 2006, Cleartrip was one of the most popular OTAs in India.
  • In April 2021, Cleartrip was acquired by Flipkart, post which Cleartrip’s Middle East business was sold to Wego and since January 2022 Flipkart started powering its flights business through Cleartrip.
  • Their revenue from operations stood at 96.7 crores in 2023.
  • The acquisition of Cleartrip allowed Flipkart to gain access to the OTA market, predominantly in the air and the hotel segment.

Here’s the comparison of competitors on the basis of industry specific metrics 👇🏻

Particulars
MakeMyTrip
ixigo group
Easemytrip
Yatra
Operating Revenue (FY23)
47.7 billion
5 billion
4.5 billion
3.8 billion
81.5 million
83 million
4.3 million
2.8 million
8.7 million
12.3 million
0.4 million
0.2 million
Cumulative App Downloads
249.2 million
288.4 million
10 million
19 million
App Ratings (Weighted average)
4.7
4.7
4.4
4.3

International OTAs

These include Booking.com, Expedia, AirBnB and Agoda.
  • International OTAs might employ Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) strategies to acquire Indian platforms and rebrand them to strengthen their market presence.
  • Indian OTAs must differentiate themselves in terms of price and product offerings to compete effectively.

Meta-searches and Horizontal E-Commerce Players

Meta search platforms like Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights funnel traffic and bookings to OTAs and airline websites. If Google enters the OTA segment directly, it could significantly shift market share in India. Skyscanner and TripAdvisor have begun monetizing some transactions after years of functioning primarily as meta-search platforms.
Horizontal E-Commerce players like Paytm, Flipkart and Amazon.
  • Primarily focused on air ticketing to offer a comprehensive suite of internet-related services and products to their customers.
  • These players exert pressure on the market shares of traditional OTAs by integrating travel services into their broader e-commerce platforms.

💡
GrowthX is an invite-only club for ambitious founder & growth leaders.
Our members are top founders, product & marketing leaders from 2,400+ internet companies like Google, Canva, CRED & Netflix.
The GrowthX Membership is built on 3 core pillars:
First, learning experience
Learn the science of revenue-led growth with frameworks actionable the next Monday morning.
Second, curated community
access to a safe space for you to soundboard anything that is stressing you at work.
Third, professional outcomes
Over 35% of members are founders & are able to hire growth teams to scale revenue for their companies while operators are able to get into breakout leadership roles.
 

Market Share of ixigo and its competitors across modes of transport

Airlines

  • MakeMyTrip is the market leader and holds approximately 30% of the total airline market in India, making it the dominant player in this segment.
  • ixigo on the other hand, captured 5.2% market share, reflecting its growing presence and competitiveness in the market.
Key insights for Airlines:
  • Growth Trends: ixigo's rising market share indicates strong performance and increased customer acquisition in a competitive market. This growth reflects effective strategies and possibly a focus on enhancing user experience and expanding offerings.
  • Competitive Landscape: The presence of multiple significant players, including Yatra, Cleartrip, and Paytm, underscores a competitive environment where differentiation in service, price, and product offerings is crucial for gaining and maintaining market share.

Railways

Share of railway tickets booked offline vs online
Share of railway tickets booked offline vs online
In 2023 ixigo Group had the largest market share within OTAs captured 46.15% of the OTA rail market. The second largest player is nearly half the size of ixigo group in train ticketing.
Key insights for railways:
  • Market Leadership: ixigo Group leads the OTA rail market with a substantial share, having nearly double the market presence compared to the second-largest player.
  • Future Focus: The next phase for rail OTAs will concentrate on improving passenger services, aiming to enhance the overall travel experience beyond just ticket booking.

Bus

State Road Transport Corporations (SRTCs): ixigo has partnered with 11 SRTCs, which is a key driver for its growth in the bus segment.
Market share split of SRTC and Private bus operators
Market share split of SRTC and Private bus operators
  • RedBus, which was acquired by GoIbibo and now under MakeMyTrip’s umbrella is the world’s largest online provider of bus tickets with a market share of 75% in India in 2023.
  • AbhiBus (ixigo's bus business) has a market share of 12.5% in 2024 and is the 2nd largest player. The platform aggregates over 2,000 private bus operators and all leading SRTCs, covering more than 100,000 routes across the country as of December 31, 2023.
Analysis and Insights:
  • Growth and Penetration: The online penetration of intercity bus bookings is steadily increasing, with a significant jump expected by 2028. This presents a growing opportunity for OTAs in the bus segment.
  • ixigo’s Strategic Partnerships: Partnering with 11 SRTCs has positioned ixigo to leverage the growing online bus booking market effectively, contributing to its rising market share.
  • Service Focus: Both RedBus and AbhiBus emphasize comprehensive passenger support throughout the journey, ensuring a high-quality experience that drives customer retention and market growth.

Hospitality

  • MakeMyTrip is the Largest OTA for hotel bookings in India and boasts of a strong brand recognition and trust among Indian consumers with multiple points of customer acquisition.
  • International Players like Agoda, Expedia, and Booking.com primarily cater to urban international travelers familiar with these brands from their experiences abroad. They have a Significant market presence in the online hotel market, albeit behind MakeMyTrip.
  • ixigo has recently entered the hotel OTA category. It currently has a market share of Less than 1% of the OTA market for hotel bookings.
Analysis and Insights:
  • Market Concentration: The online hotel booking market in India is concentrated, with MakeMyTrip, Agoda, Expedia, and Booking.com dominating the majority share.
  • ixigo's Growth Potential: While currently holding a small market share, ixigo’s recent entry into the hotel OTA segment indicates potential for growth, especially if it leverages its existing customer base from other travel segments and enhances its value proposition for hotel bookings.
  • Future Trends: The increasing share of OTAs in online hotel bookings suggests a growing reliance on these platforms by consumers, driven by convenience, competitive pricing, and integrated travel services. OTAs will likely continue to enhance their cross-selling strategies and expand their offerings to capture a larger market share in the hospitality sector.

ixigo revenue model

ixigo primarily earns revenue from ticket booking for trains, buses, flights and hotels 👇🏻
Flight ticketing ₹102.033 crore
Train ticketing: ₹297.799 crore
Bus ticketing: ₹97.405 crore
Others: ₹4.013 crores
 
ixigo’s revenue model
ixigo’s revenue model

Flights

ixigo-flights:
  • ixigo-flights mobile app was launched in 2011 and allows users to search and book all travel products and services, including flights, trains, buses and hotels.
  • Some of the features of this application include the ability to track flights in real time, automatic online registration of users and the ability to provide price predictions and instant prices.
  • The platform enables multimodal searches, allowing users to plan their journey between trains, flights, buses and hotels.
ixigo-flights app
ixigo-flights app
  • Gross Transaction Value: ₹2,015.488 crores
  • Gross Ticketing Revenue: ₹222.010 crores
  • Gross Take Rate: ₹11.05%
  • Contribution Margin: ₹56.81 crores
💡
They primarily earn revenue from the flight tickets booked by users through our platforms in the form of convenience fees, commissions/ net rates, rescheduling charges, cancellation charges and incentives.

Trains

ixigo-train:
  • ixigo trains app was launched on android in 2013 with the primary focus on improving the experience of the Indian train travellers.
  • ixigo trains app is designed to provide various daily utility use cases by helping travellers find train routes, check train running status, coach positions, platform numbers and location, real-time seat availability, train and train station ratings and reviews, station alarms, refund calculator, and PNR predictions for waitlisted bookings.
  • It allows travellers to book train tickets in real-time and also offer local news, and other content and entertainment offerings through our ixigo trains app which it monetizes through display advertisements.
💡
Unique selling proposition of ixigo-trains The ixigo trains app allows users to locate their train accurately in real time and it can also work without an internet connection or a GPS signal using proprietary location mapping technology and crowd-sourced location data from their users to show the live location of trains and predict their delays at upcoming stations.
ixigo-trains app
ixigo-trains app
ConfirmTkt
  • ConfirmTkt, ixigo’s other train-focused mobile app, is a train ticket waitlist prediction and booking platform acquired by ixigo in 2021. It aims at ensuring that users get a ‘confirmed ticket’.
  • ConfirmTkt’s unique value proposition is built around predicting confirmation chances for waitlisted tickets and check train running status, coach positions, platform numbers and location, real-time seat availability, along with providing alternative travel and train recommendations.
  • This is powered by learning of seat allotment patterns on trains and machine learning algorithms built on historical data.
  • The platform also distinguishes itself by allowing users to book train tickets directly as opposed to re-directing users to the IRCTC website, and by offering intelligent alternate travel recommendations when direct trains on the route do not have availability.
confirmtkt app
confirmtkt app
  • Gross Transaction Value: ₹4471.527 crores
  • Gross Ticketing Value: ₹284.666 crores
  • Gross Take Rate: 6.37%
  • Contribution Margin: ₹96.117 crores
💡
ixigo primarily earns revenue from the train tickets booked by users through our platforms in the form of agent service charges and payment gateway fees. In addition, they earn revenue from advertisements and up-selling and cross-selling our other services, such as ixigo Assured Flex, our free cancellation and modification service that provides a full refund of the fare in the case of tickets canceled for any reason by the user prior to chart preparation of trains, for a nominal charge.

Buses

AbhiBus
  • AbhiBus OTA platform is available through the website and also through a mobile app that is available for android and iOS operating systems. AbhiBus allows users to check amenities provided, compare booking fares, check bus timings in the searched route and other facilities.
  • As of December 31, 2023, AbhiBus has an inventory of over 2,000 private bus operators and all leading state road transport corporations, covering more than 100,000 routes across the country.
  • It is the official ticketing partner for several state road transport corporation bus tickets and IRCTC tickets.
abhibus app
abhibus app
  • Gross Transaction Value: ₹965.415 crores
  • Gross Ticketing Value: ₹99.654 crores
  • Gross Take Rate: ₹10.32%
  • Contribution Margin: ₹61.765 crores
💡
ixigo earns revenue from the bus tickets booked by users through their platforms in the form of convenience fees, Abhi Assured fees, and commissions. They also earn revenue by providing a state of art online passenger reservation system to private bus operators and State Road Transport Corporations across India.

ixigo’s contribution Margin Analysis:

Contribution Margin is defined as net ticketing revenue plus other operating revenue less direct expenses. This helps us understand how much revenue remains after variable costs to cover fixed costs and generate profit. It indicates the profitability of individual products or services.
To analyze the profitability and contributions to ixigo's profits from the different segments—Flights, Trains, and Buses—let's break down the given data and calculate the contribution margin ratios for each segment.
Modes of Transport
Gross Ticketing Value
Contribution Margin
Contribution Margin Ratio
Trains
₹284.666 crores
₹96.117 crores
33.76%
Flights
₹222.010 crores
₹56.81 crores
25.58%
Buses
₹99.654 crores
₹61.765 crores
61.83%
Calculations:
calculation of contribution margin
calculation of contribution margin
notion image
Overall Insights
  • Efficiency: Buses are the most efficient in converting revenue to profit.
  • Volume Impact: Despite lower per-rupee profitability, Trains lead in total profit contribution due to higher volume or value. In terms of absolute contribution to profits, the Trains segment is the largest contributor with ₹96.117 crores.

Breakdown of ixigo’s Growth Model

A couple of our members from GX10 picked ixigo as their capstone project. Their goal was to create a growth strategy for ixigo & increase it’s revenue from ₹135 crores to ₹300 crores in 12 months.
We were amazed by the insights gathered for this project and many others in the GrowthX membership.
You can join the membership to solve growth challenges organically, connect with professionals in business, marketing, product, and more.
Scale your revenue and expand market share with our structured approach.
With this, let’s deep dive into the insights our members have gathered from their stint!
ixigo has demonstrated a unique strategic approach to product development and growth. Unlike many companies that focus on immediate revenue generation, ixigo prioritized solving large, impactful problems, even if they didn’t yield short-term dividends.

Some key insights 👇🏻

Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar emphasized the importance of product-led growth over the illusion of growth created by heavy spending. They pointed out that it is easy to feel successful when spending money, but much harder to determine if a product truly fits the market’s needs during such a growth curve.
By focusing on building a solid product that addressed user needs, ixigo relied on organic growth, primarily driven by word of mouth. This strategy was particularly evident in the development and success of ixigo’s train app feature.
The co-founders realized that building traction and acquiring sticky users were crucial in the early stages. They believed that if the product was compelling enough to attract and retain users, monetization opportunities would naturally follow.
For ixigo, achieving a solid product-market fit was a priority. The company’s growth strategy involved ensuring that the product genuinely resonated with users and solved their problems effectively. This focus on long-term value creation and user satisfaction helped ixigo build a loyal user base and sustain its growth over the years.

ixigo’s Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

An ideal customer profile gives an overview of how your primary target audience looks like. We derive a lot of information about their needs, habits, demographics which ultimately helps us to make products and services catering to them. The members came up with a ton of ICPs and prioritized two ICPs for ixigo who have varying needs and come from diverse backgrounds.
ICP 1: Akshit Jain
ICP 2: Aparna Nerurkar
Demographic
Train + Flight + Bus
Flight Domestic + International
Persona
Akshit Jain is a new professional that values time while traveling and money while booking, he’s flexible in choosing between trains & flights during intercity travel, basis efficiency.
Aparna Nerurkar is an entrepreneur who travels regularly domestically and internationally by flight for work &leisure equally.
Age
23-35
35+
City
Tier 1/2
Metro Tier 1/2
Income
10-15 LPA
35LPA+
Employment
APM at a FinTech Startup
Entrepreneur
Marital Status
Mixed: Single/Married
Mixed: Single/Married
Children? (Y/N)
Mixed
Mixed
Who do you travel with?
Solo, friends & nuclear family
Solo, friends & nuclear family
Preferred Mode of Inter-city Transport
Train/Flight/Bus/Personal Car
Airplanes, Cars
Work: Hybrid, from home, office
Hybrid
Hybrid
Traveling Ticket Decision Maker
Self/Collective (incase of marriage)
Self
Frequency of intercity travel for work (to-fro)
2-3 times/ year
3-6 times/year
Frequency of intercity travel for personal reasons (to-fro)
6-10 times/year
4-6 times/year
Android or iOS
Andriod
Mix
Preferred Payment Method
UPI, Credit Card
Credit Card, Netbanking, UPI
Preferred Mode of Booking (App, Website, Offline)? Why?
App - Tracking is easy,
App and Web equally
Do you use Hotel booking apps/websites?
Both
Mix
What do you look for when choosing your stay while travelling?
Cost and Comfort
Comfort and convenience
Preferred Domestic Airline
Indigo, SpiceJet, GoAir
Indigo, Vistara, Spicejet
Preferred Means of Stay (Hotel, AirBnB, Family/Friends)
Hotels - when traveling with family AirBnB - when traveling with friends/alone
Club Mahindra, Hotel, Resort (3-4 star)
Pain-points While Booking ***
-Felt Cheated due to different prices shown before and during payment -Low Reimbursements after cancellation -Failed Payment
Cancelation clarity
Pain-points During Travel
- Poor quality of food/travel services in the destination place/ - Expectations mismatch which booking traveling packages. - Train gets delayed at the last moment. - No real time updates for train’s arrival. - Cancellation process is hectic offline
- Domestic packages - Places to visit - Payment options
Do you travel light?
Yes, try to stay within the limit
Mix
No - Alone Yes - If we kids
Do you pre-book meals for a flight?
No
Support for kids; Old age parents
Do you need any special assistance?
Yes, when traveling with elderly family members
International Travel
India
Country of Citizenship
India
Yes
Do you possess a passport?
Yes
3+
How many Countries do you have a Visa for, currently?
NA
Mix
Which Category do you travel in? (Economy, Business, etc)
Economy
1-7 days
How much in advance do you book international travel?
NA
Time & Money
Time vs. Money: What’s more important?
Money
Time
Where do you spend your time?
OTT, Social Media,
Where do you spend your money?
Subscriptions- Spotify, Internet, Food, Gym, Shopping
Amazon/Flipkart/Meesho, Food, Travel, Insurance (Life, health)
Most Used Networking Apps
Linkedin, Slack, Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitter, Reddit
WhatsApp, Instagram, Sharechat, Facebook
Most Used Travel Apps
MMT, Ixigo, Cleartrip, PayTM, EMT, Goibibo
MMT, Ixigo, Paytm
Most Used Payment Apps
GPay, Paytm, Phonepe, Slice, Simpl
Paytm, Gpay, PhonePe
Most Used Entertainment Apps
Spotify, YT,Netflix, Amazon music, Amazon prime video, Hotstar
YouTube, Hotstar, News channels
JTBD
Functional
Plan and book travel effectively and efficiently online
To travel from point A to point B. To plan a stay during my trip.
Personal
Work+leisure
New experiences + work + relaxation
Financial
Finding the best deal when making a booking online
Cheap & convenient deals for flights Try to find the cheap fare for entire family or couple for leisure travel
Social
Brag about trips to colleagues, and friends, spend some time with friends and family, get appreciation on social media from friends, followers, etc. Create FOMO for other people who aren’t traveling.
Share pictures on Facebook, WhatsApp status, IG to brag about the travel experience and places to stay - Gratification. Work - Status among clients + partners
Natural Frequency
Bus
4-5 times/year
0-1 times/year
Train
4-5 times/year
1-2 times/year
Domestic Flight
3-4 times/year
3-4 times/year
International Flight
0-1 times/year
2-3 times/year
Stay (Hotel, AirBnB, Family/Friends etc)
5-6 times/year
5-7 times/year
Outstation Cab
1-2 times/year
1-2 times/year
Where do they spend their time?
ICP1 (Akshit: New professional <> Train + Flights)
ICP2 (Aparna: Small business owner <> Domestic Flight)
Entertainment (Apps used | Cinemas etc)
- Instagram/FB - Spotify - Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hotstar - News portals - Amazon/Flipkart - Zomato/Swiggy
- Instagram - YouTube - Spotify - MMT, EaseMyTrip - Swiggy/Zomato
Travel (How many times travel for short trips)
6-10 times/ year
5-10 times/year
Commute (How much time they spend)
1-2 hours daily
1-2 hours daily
Location (Time spent - Home & office)
A mix of time spent at home and office
Mostly spending time in office for work
Exercise (Fitness apps, gym)
- Personal trainer for fitness - Using strava, runkeeper for tracking exercise - Cult fit
Regular workout regimen
Hobbies (Reading, running etc)
- Avid reader (online or offline) - Consuming content on OTT platforms - Loves travelling and new experiences - Talking to friends & fam
- Reading Books - Exploring cities across the world with family - Gym and running - Likes browsing content on social media platforms
Where do they spend their money?
ICP1 (Akshit: New professional <> Train + Flights)
ICP2 (Aparna: Small business owner <> Domestic Flight)
Entertainment
- Multiple OTTs
Netflix, Prime, Spotify, YouTube
Travel
- Visiting hometown - Weekend trips along or with friends
- 2-3 week long trip with family in a year - 2-3 times per year to visit parents in another city - 4-5 times per year on work
Commute
- Cabs - Metros - Bus - Personal Vehicles
- Personal Vehicle - Car - Cab
Reading
- Books - Learning something new ( courses, etc)
Reads books and articles
Food
- Hire cook - Going out with friends and colleagues - Groceries
- Has a cook - Goes out with family or friends 1-2 times per week - Loves exploring food while travelling
Hobbies
- Sports/Gym subscriptions - trekking/traveling
- Loves listening to Music - Jogging and Yoga
Shopping
- Amazon/Flipkart - Myntra
- Amazon/Big Basket - Nykaa - Local Market for Grocery - Malls for Cloths
Others
- Investment
- Looks for ease of payment - Really appreciates good customer support

Our Marketing Pitch

ixigo: Giving Wheels & Wings to Bharat
ixigo is the country’s top AI-based travel platform, enabling a staggering 170mn+ travelers in making much smarter travel decisions. Whether it’s saving money or time, ixigo’s mission isn’t to merely enable India, but to help all of Bharat in experiencing the world around them.

Marketing Pitch for our ICPs?

👦 ICP 1: Akshit Jain
— Flight, Train, Hotels or Buses, when you need to go.. rely on ixigo
Wherever you want to go, whatever you may want to do, ixigo helps you make smarter travel decisions (while being wallet-friendly!). We have the best tricks up our sleeves and the smartest AI to enable your journeys.
 
👧 ICP 2: Aparna Nerurkar
— You have dreams to see the world, we’ll be the wind beneath your wings
Whether it's your personal life or professional life, your time is valuable. Why should travel be any different? At ixigo, we’ll make sure you’re able to check off your to-do list (whether it's domestic or international) and make sure you get maximum experience per unit time. 🙂

User Goals of the two ICPs

ICP 1 - Akshit
ICP 2 - Aparna
Functional
Have a quick and seamless experience of booking for both flights and trains. Use one app for all travel needs.
Make informed decisions for travel bookings. Get a quick overview of best possible options before researching further and booking.
Personal
Smart travel decisions - time/cost/effort evaluation. Flexible on what he prioritizes based on time available.
Time conscious - Comfort and convenience are paramount yet ensuring that she receives the best quality at best price.
Financial
Likes financial planning, saving early on to invest. However, he also believes in the YOLO philosophy so likes to indulge himself while traveling with good flights and hotels.
Financially astute and in a stable position, Aparna now chooses the best. She understands that a good travel experience even at an incremental experience is important for the rest of her trip to be perfect.
Social
Highly active. Social goal is to show friends that he makes the right decisions. Likes to share his travel experiences and acts as a micro-influencer for his friends and network.
Selectively social. Doesn’t want to prove anything. However, genuinely loves sharing interesting experiences. Also, prone to ranting on social media in case of negative experience.

Understanding the target market:

Let’s understand the market opportunity for ixigo from their 4 business verticals. These are the three metrics that determine what is the addressable market for any business.
TAM: Total Addressable Market
SAM: Serviceable Addressable Market
SOM: Serviceable Obtainable Market
Vertical
Source of Revenue
TAM (FY22-23)
SAM (FY22-23)
SOM (FY22-23)
Air Ticketing
Convenience Fee on Transaction
~ ₹8000 Cr
~ ₹4000 Cr
~ ₹400 Cr
Bus Ticketing
Commission (% of GMV)
~ ₹2500 Cr
~ ₹650 Cr
~ ₹162.5 Cr
Rail Ticketing
Convenience Fee on Transaction
~ ₹10,000 Cr
~ ₹675 Cr
~ ₹330 Cr
Hotel Bookings
Commission (% of GMV)
Not the focus, as we don't have our own product
Not the focus, as we don’t have our own product
Not the focus, as we don't have our own product
(All figures above indicate the market size based on revenue earning, not GTV)
Key Takeaways:
  • Highest TAM for train vertical ~ 10,000 Cr, but only 7% is addressable market due to low online penetration % - IRCTC controls the highest % - both online + offline (Public sector)
    • ixigo currently has 42% market share and aims to obtain 50% share.
  • Flight has the highest SAM (~ 50% of TAM) due to high online behavior - both OTAs and private airlines.
    • ixigo currently has 2.5% market share and aims to obtain 10% share.
  • Bus vertical has the lowest TAM and SAM (~ 25% of TAM); highly scattered market due to multiple existing players (both online + offline)
    • ixigo aims to obtain 15% share through acquisition and marketing.
 

ixigo user’s natural frequency

For a standard user, ixigo is relevant in their lives 3-5 times/year. Let’s break this down into more detail:
Frequency of the Sub-Products
Let’s break it down into the general frequency of usage
Flight ✈️
Train 🚂
Bus 🚌
Hotels 🏨
Casual 😴
0-2 times/year
2-4 times/year
2-4 times/year
0-2 times/year
Core 😃
3-4 times/year
5-8 times/year
5-10 times/year
3-4 times/year
Power 🥳
>5 times/year
>8 times/year
>10 times/year
>5 times/year
Usage by our ICPs:
Flight ✈️
Train 🚂
Bus 🚌
Hotels 🏨
International Flights 🛫
ICP 1 : Akshit
3-4 times/year
4-5 times/year
4-5 times/year
5-6 times/year
0-1 times/year
ICP 2 : Aparna
3-4 times/year
1-2 times/year
0-1 times/year
4-5 times/year
2-3 times/year

ixigo’s Current Customer Base

  • ixigo has ~5 million DAUs cumulatively across ixigo trains, ixigo flights, Confirmtkt, and AbhiBus apps and websites.
  • ixigo’s major pull comes from their ancillary offerings like train tracking and PNR status. However, monetizing them remains a challenge for ixigo.
  • they hold about 42% of the OTA market share in trains and close to 3% in flights
  • ixigo maintains a retention rate of about 75% on their train app and about 50% on their flight app.
  • The monthly Transacting Users (MTU) to Monthly Active Users (MAU) ratio remains close to 4.29% combined.

Customer Acquisition

Ever since ixigo launched, they have acquired customers organically by heavily relying on online marketing strategies to generate word-of-mouth product referrals, search engine optimization, social media engagement and video content. In order to grow from 135 to 300 crores the GX10 team introduced new channels to acquire new customers and increase expand their market share.
Channel name
Cost
Flexibility
Effort
Lead time
Scale
Referral
Medium
Low
Medium
Medium
Medium
Organic
Low
Low
Medium
High
Medium
Paid Ads
High
High
Medium
Low
High
Product Integrations
Medium
Low
High
High
Medium
Content Loops
High
Medium
Medium
Medium
High
1. Content loops
Content loops broadly involve the publishing and sharing media, which would then be shared further by either the business, its users or partners. The action triggers signups, activations and user engagement, which leads to more sharing of the media. This enables the “loop” or flywheel. Woah!
  • 🔁 Creating 4 content loops that are a mix of always active & seasonal.
  • 🔦 Spotlighting User Stories: Intrinsically creating social-proofing through usage & sharing of user stories.
How will we do it?
By enabling ixigo to become the vehicle for our message & privy to the best features that ixigo has to offer.
What impact will this have on our north-star metric?
Revenue through Acquisition & driving footfall to the app/website.
What will our key considerations be?
Being cognisant of the performance of content loop channels to understand the real impact, key areas to look at:
  • Channels → Where do audiences spend their time ⇒ best place to capture their attention and harness their intent.
  • Messaging → What are the key points to convey that make ixigo can stand out?
  •  ROI → Which channel could bring users with positive ROI over 12-months - and also be scalable.
  •  Timing → Travel is need-based and can be seasonal in nature - reaching out at the optimum time is the key.
2. Paid Ads
Paid advertisement is a great lever to accelerate your user acquisition and capture users at the right place + right time.
Focusing on both pull (Google SEM) and push channels (FB/IG/display) - based on the LTV:CAC calculation. According to our member’s research:
  • Overall, a healthy LTV: CAC ratio ~ 2.0 over a period of 12 months. Can proceed with the paid channel for these 2 ICPs.
  • Google SEM, Display, and Facebook/IG are the most promising channels in terms of high LTV: CAC ratio - to be given the highest priority + marketing budget
  • Paid Acquisition channel
    • Channel
      Cost
      Flexibility
      Effort
      Speed
      Scale
      Google SEM
      high
      high
      low
      high
      high
      FB/IG
      medium
      high
      medium
      high
      high
      Youtube
      medium
      high
      medium
      high
      high
      Display Ads
      low
      high
      low
      medium
      medium
      App Campaigns
      medium
      medium
      low
      high
      high
      Sharechat
      low
      high
      medium
      medium
      medium
      App Pre-install
      high
      medium
      medium
      medium
      medium
On the basis of the above framework, we will be focussing majorly on:
  • Google SEM (60% budget) - ICP 1/2/3 combined - PULL CHANNEL
  • Facebook/IG (30% budget) - ICP 1/2/3 combined - PUSH CHANNEL 1
  • YouTube/Display/GDN (5% budget) - ICP 1/2/3 combined - PUSH CHANNEL 2
Channel Specific Targeting:
Google SEM:
ICP 1 & 2 ✈️ 🏨
Facebook/IG
ICP 1 & 2 ✈️ 🏨
Key Objective
Booking flight/hotel
Key Objective
- Brand recall/TOMA - Conversion
Keyword Searches
- cheap flight tickets- flight from Delhi to Mum- Ixigo flights- Happeasygo
Interests
- Business - Leisure travel - Fashion/clothing - Lookalike of existing flight audience
Placements
- Google Search ads- YouTube search
Placements
- Facebook - Instagram (Explore, Story, Reels) - Audience network
Competition
OTA/Partners (MMT, EMT, Cleartrip, Indigo)
Competition
OTA/Partners (MMT, EMT, Cleartrip, Indigo)
3. Organic Traffic
  • Currently, 95% of the traffic coming to IXIGO is from organic channels, while the proposed acquisition strategy is to double down on the efforts we have for Paid and content channels.
  • The idea here for Organic traffic is not to lose out on the existing momentum and come up with a framework that can help optimize and keep up the existing pace.
  • The data trends from Similar-web suggest that a minute optimization, in SEO strategy can help keep the current trend and still act as an important acquisition channel.
  • Currently, IXIGO ranks well on Train and related keywords need improvement around keywords related to other services like Flight, Bus, etc.
To fulfill search intent and search engine optimisation, we will divide the team effort into three folds based on the effort required across each fold,
  1. Effort Group: Low
    1. Brand-Related
  1. Effort Group: Medium
    1. Product
    2. Use-Case
  1. Effort Group: High
    1. Competitors
    2. Use-Case
notion image
For keywords where the effort is low, we will get quicker results once with less effort. Ixigo is currently performing better on the Keywords related to the Train Vertical as compared to that of the Flights vertical. We will start by pushing content around the identified Train Keywords and then will pick Flight Keywords in the pipeline
4. Referrals
  • Currently referral contributes 0.5% of Traffic to IXIGo website (Source Similar Web) But these are backlink referrals and not users referral.
  • Most users were not aware of IXIGo referral Program. However many of these users were aware of IXIGo Money. Hence we have moved referral Program to IXIGo Money Tab.
  • IXIGo has huge DAU and MAU (5m and 55m) respectively but a very small transacting user base. We would like to leverage this captive audience base to acquire users through Referral.
5. Product integrations
What kind of companies can IXIGO tie up with?
  • Firms that serve use cases adjacent to IXIGO’s use cases. While IXIGO helps book train, flight and Buses, its related use cases could be companies that serve -
    • Tour Planning (Holidify, Thrillophilia)
    • Travel Content/Reviews/Itinerary Discovery (Tripoto Etc)
    • Travel Agents Discovery (Justdial)
  • Firms that are rapidly expanding horizontally (Or aspire to) and may want to include ticket booking on their portfolio but do not want to build the system from scratch
    • Snapdeal
    • Meesho
  • Companies that have extremely high DAUs and can market offers on my platform to them
    • Gpay (Show offers in the scratch card shown after transaction)
    • Bank Credit Cards (Exclusive tie ups to offer IXIGO only discounts on Credit cards)

Onboarding

Customer onboarding is the process of guiding new customers to understand and use a product or service effectively. Successful onboarding aids revenue-led growth as it enhances customer satisfaction, reduces churn, and fosters long-term loyalty, leading to increased lifetime value and recurring revenue.
The team reached out to users and ICPs of ixigo and discovered the following insights:
User insights
  • More than 90% of active users of ixigo train, use it only for ancillary service. They look for trains on ixigo and book on IRCTC because it is slightly cheaper. If a higher perceived value of transacting on Ixigo is communicated during On Boarding, it will help boost transaction
  • Most users use ixigo for its smooth user experience compared to IRCTC that get bulk of ticket booking but is buggy and often requires multiple login attempt
  • Almost one third of train bookings gets dropped off at IRCTC log in page on all OTAs (Source - the KEN). However, there is noting much we can do about this as IRCTC controls complete train tickets inventory
  • ixigo Assured was pointed out as a major pull features for users of ixigo, hence communicating about “ixigo Assured” during on Boarding may help boost transactions
  • 75% of users who have booked flight through ixigo, did this because the found some discount. Most users have never comeback
  • User’s hate it when OTAs show one process during booking process and raise the price, Just before payment
  • ixigo, already has solution to some of the pain points, highlighted by users during interview.
Here’s their analysis and teardown of ixigo-Trains onboarding process
Brand Discovery
Website:
1. Train Use Cases Search
IXIGO appears on the top 3 to 4 search results for most train ticket booking query (Without using IXIGO name) and ancillary search cases such as PNR status check, Train location, Waiting list predication etc.
2. Brand Search Use case
IXIGO appears on top for its own Brand search and IXIGO Rail search.
notion image
3. App Store Discovery
IXIGO Rail (Or its subsidiary) does well in keyword search results for train uses on Google app stores as well. We checked four use cases and in most, IXIGo ranked at the top, or was preceded only by IRCTC as shown below -
App:
The App headline on App store page communicates the ancillary service that ixigo provides which is common use case for most people.
  1. App Download
Leveraging social proof and familiarity
Borrowing trust by Predominantly using IRCTCs name in both headline and description .
App Ratings
Good Ratings. 80% of reviewers have given 4.5 star
Rankings
Ranked 7th overall in free travel & local Again building trust and credibility , which is extremely important while operating in a market where there is zero loyalty and also fear of using the internet to book something that has been traditionally been done offline.
notion image
notion image
The App headline on App store page communicates the ancillary service that ixigo provides which is common use case for most people
  1. Sign Up
notion image
Borrowing Trust by reminding the user who he has been referred by and the reward he is going to get. This in a priming the user to consume the reward by booking a ticket
Social Login. Option to log in using existing Gmail or Facebook account. This is standard sign up process that most users are used and hence not an issue.
  1. Preferences and Permission
notion image
Considering most users of ixigo are from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, it’s a good strategy to make the user aware of the language options in the very beginning of onboarding.
  1. Educating the User about the App landscape
notion image
Considering the home page has a lot of services, this is useful in educating the user as well as reinforcing the list of services ixigo can be used for. Although there are 7 to 8 services on home page, it is good there are only 3,4 splash screen focusing on 3 core element (Train Search, Non Train bookings, PNR search and running status)
  1. Experiencing the Core Value Proposition
notion image
Now this is the Holy grail. The user has signed up but how do we get the user to use our app considering services offered by us are need based? One way to do this could be to
  • Make the user curious - Display a banner talking about ixigo assured.
📢
“Not sure about your travel plan? Use IXIGo assured and get complete refund on cancellation. 1.2 lakh happy customers who have used ixigo assured!”
  • Create a sense of urgency - Complete your 1st booking in next 1 hours and (get your convivence fee waived off) or (Get 50 rupees ixigo Cash)
  • Set Booking Reminder - Nudge the users to set reminders to book Tickets for plans that are not fixed yet or for trains whose tickets have not opened up yet
  1. Train Results and Selection
notion image
pitching ixigo assured at the right point (This can ensure people who are still unsure of their booking might still book using ixigo assured). Though this is price sensitive space, I feel this can work because it is extremely difficult to get train tickets in India, especially on popular routes. Most people (4 out of 6 users in user calling) would be willing to pay this price rather than pay for tatkal or pay agents.
  1. Traveler details
notion image
This we believe would be another page where there could potentially been massive drop off. This is something that cannot be changed and what ixigo does better is it asks for IRCTC log in here and not during sign up. If a user does not have IRCTC account they an option to register.
However, the experience of registering on IRCTC is not controlled by ixigo. Secondly it does not ask for password until the ticket is actually booked. This is good considering the glitchy experience of logging in IRCTC.
Show summary of travel journey. Although a simple step, this is extremely critical to ensure the user does not go back to review he has chosen the right train and date
  1. Payment
notion image
No Changes recommended for payment page design
IRCTC password is asked once the ticket is booked (Although user is not yet happy, since he hasn’t seen the ticket).
  1. Closure
notion image
An option to change IRCTC ID is provided which is actually helpful (Team member who booked this ticket actually had to change his IRCTC id to get to see the ticket). Since it is government to have IRCTC linked account there is not much room for creativity
If rates the experience as 4 star and above prompt the user to refer and earn (As covered in referral section).
Now, how can they improve this onboarding journey? Here are are the changes suggested by the team.
  1. App Download
Change: Redirected to the app on Playstore with updated reviews and Download Counts
  1. Introducing what is unique at ixigo
Change:
  • Moving language selection right at the beginning
  • Building credibility through social proofs and introducing features unique to ixigo (Travel Mode, ixigo Assured)
  1. Continue with what is Unique at ixigo
Change:
  • Continuing ixigo unique feature
  • Sign up moved past ixigo feature introduction screens
  1. Sign up and OTP verification
  • No Change
  1. Educating the user about home screen landscape
  • No Change
  1. Experiencing the Core Value Prop
Change:
  • Creating a sense of urgency to nudge the user to search for trains (In order to put on path to activation) and book tickets
  • Combining this with “ixigo assured” introduction in case they are undecided travellers.
  1. Train Results and Selection
  • No Change
  1. Traveller's Details
  • No Change
  1. Payment
Change: Highlighting Travel Mode benefit (In green) that the user is going to get for free, so the user doesn’t drop off
  1. Closure
  • No Change

Engagement and Retention

Engagement refers to how actively and frequently users interact with a product or service. Retention measures how well a product or service keeps users over time, indicating their continued use and loyalty. Both are critical for sustained business growth and user satisfaction.
💡
Why is EnR important & how it’s adding to our overall revenue goal? Our members found that there is a lack of loyalty amongst customers for ixigo, which causes them to go to different OTA platforms for each of their purchases.
By prioritizing Engagement and Retention as a core lever for ixigo, we want to generate stickiness toward the app and generate repeat purchases. By addressing user pain points during planning, booking, tracking, and completion of travel, we can engage them better on the platform.
Since ICP 1&2 prefer using the fights app, we will deep dive into the engagement and retention strategies of the ixigo-flights app.
User insights:
  • ICP 1 Users are price sensitive and check multiple OTA platforms before making an air ticket purchase.
  • The natural frequency of users booking air tickets is more than the repeat transactions they make on ixigo.
  • 89% of our users drop at the payments page on ixigo for multiple reasons: unexpected additional fees added.
What is the core value prop of your product?
🌟
Helps users plan and book air travel efficiently and economically
The application specifically caters to an audience that is looking for efficiency, convenience, and budget-friendly deals while booking flights and tracking their trips to completion.
How do users currently experience that core value prop repeatedly?
  1. Planning: When a user is trying to travel to a destination, he/she opens ixigo and searches for the best deals and availability of all the major airlines. The user also gets updates via email whenever the fare drops on his prior searches through Fare Alerts.
  1. Booking: On finding the right flight (fare, time) for him, the user selects the number of passengers and completes the booking through a payment gateway.
  1. Tracking: Once his booking is completed, the user is able to track the status of his flight.
  1. Finishing: The user completes his trip without cancellation.
What is the natural frequency of ixigo Flights’ core product?
🌟
Natural Frequency: Frequency of the number of bookings made and completed on the platform.
Product
Flight Booking
JTBD
Plan and book air travel effectively and efficiently online
ICP who will find value
ICP1, ICP2
Casual
1-5 tickets/year
Core
5-10 tickets/year
Power
10-15 times/year
Do you have other sub-products? What is their natural frequency like?
Name
Type
JTBD
ICPs who will find value
Frequency
Ola Cabs - Integration
Cab Service
Users can book cabs from the airport to their final destination
ICP1, ICP2
Casual: 2-3 times/year Core: 5-6 times /year Power: 8-10 times/year
Bookings.com - Integration
Hotel Booking
Users can book stays in their travel destinations
ICP1, ICP2
Casual: 1-2 times/year Core: 2-3 times /year Power: 4-5 times/year
Flight Status
Tracking
1. Scheduled: When the user wants to travel in case of emergency, he can look for the flights which are departing in the next 2.5 hours from his location so that he may book the flight and reach their desired location. 2. Search: When I am having a booked flight, I want to track the status of my flight such that I can plan to reach the airport on time. 3. Tracked: When I am traveling via flight, I should be able to track the details of my flight, without entering the details again and again.
ICP1, ICP2
Casual: 1-4 times/year Core: 4-8 times /year Power: 8+ times/year
IRCTC Train Booking
Train Booking
Users can book train tickets using the IRCTC portal integration
ICP1
Casual: 1-2 times/year Core: 2-3 times /year Power: 4-5 times/year
Fare Alerts
Price Alerts
Fare Alerts notify you instantly via email when the price of air routes you searched for, to keep you well-informed and ahead of the pricing curve
ICP1
Casual: 2-6 times/year Core: 6-11 times /year Power: 11+ times/year
Bus Booking
Bus Booking
Users can book bus tickets on the platform
ICP1
Casual: 1-2 times/year Core: 2-3 times /year Power: 4-5 times/year
Smart web check-in
Convenience
Schedule your web check-in in advance with one click after booking your flight tickets.
ICP1, ICP2
Casual: 1-4 times/year Core: 4-9 times /year Power: 9+ times/year
ixigo money
Platform Currency
Loyalty program to help users get lowered prices on their bookings
ICP1, ICP2
Casual: 1-5 times/year Core: 6-10 times /year Power: 10+ times/year
Ixigo money max
Platform Currency
In case of train bookings getting canceled, the money goes to ixigo money max within 2 mins of transaction failure
ICP1
Casual: 1-2 times/year Core: 2-3 times /year Power: 4-5 times/year
e-visa service
Visa Service
Make a visa application online and receive your visa within 48 hrs, removing the hassle of connecting with the foreign embassy.
ICP2
Casual: 0-1 times/year Core: 1-2 times /year Power: 2+ times/year
News and Travel Stories
Lifestyle
Users can explore travel trends and new destinations to go to, visa processes, and itineraries in one place.
ICP1, ICP2
Casual: 0-1 times/year Core: 1-3 times /year Power: 3+ times/year
Lowest Fares
Lifestyle
Fare Alerts notify you instantly via email when the price of air routes you searched for, to keep you well-informed and ahead of the pricing curve
ICP1
Casual: 0-1 times/year Core: 1-3 times /year Power: 3+ times/year
What does each engagement framework look like for ixigo Flight?
Engagement Framework
Description
Frequency
Increasing number of tickets booked in a time period by a user.
Depth
Increasing the money spent by our users on the platform on a specific booking.
Breadth
Increasing the products/sub-products a user is using
What makes a User Active?
🗨️
An active user is someone who booked at least 1 flight in the last 2 months on the ixigo flights’ app
 
Segmentation:
  1. ICP Based
Now let’s see how we will engage each ICP (This is a broad split of engagement framework)
When we look at Akshit Jain(ICP1) as a user, he travels from time to time on trains, flights, and buses.
Framework: Frequency of Engagement
Why Frequency of Engagement?
Akshit loves to explore places and he is also tech-savvy. He uses different apps for booking and managing travel throughout the year. We can encourage Akshit to come back to ixigo for all his purchases by providing a mixed price advantage and other benefits.
 
When we look at Aparna Nerurkar(ICP2) as a user, she travels domestically and internationally from time to time on flights.
Framework: Breadth of Engagement
Why Breadth of Engagement?
Aparna is a time-sensitive user and she is okay with spending a little extra on her trips for convenience. She wants comfort and peace of mind when traveling.
 
  1. Frequency Based
Who are our Casual, Core, and Power users?
Casual User
Core User
Power User
What Products do they use?
Flight bookings, Smart Web check-in, ixigo Money
Flight bookings, Smart Web check-in, Fare Alerts, ixigo assured, IRCTC Train booking, Bus bookings, Flight Status, ixigo Money
Flight bookings, Smart Web check-in, ixigo assured, Lowest Fare, Fare Alerts, Bus bookings, IRCTC Train bookings, Hotel, Ola Cabs, ixigo Money
Key Actions
Booked a flight over 3 months ago, ixigo money cashback expired from the last purchase,
Booked a flight in the last 60 days, availed cashback from ixigo money, browsed through News Travel Stories for over 10-20 mins/week,
Booked a flight in the last 60 days, has booked over 6 tickets on ixigo in a year
Frequency
<5 tickets/year
5-10 tickets/year
>10 tickets/year
 
  1. Advanced segmentation:
Lapsed
Lapsing
Heroes in waiting
Hero Customers
These users have switched to a different app to make their fight ticket booking.
Ixigo is used sometimes for booking after checking options. Not the most favored booking app for these users.
Ixigo is one of their main booking apps and they almost always book via Ixigo. End up booking with Ixigo when prices or discounts are best available with ixigo. Never opt for any value-added services that ixigo provides or maintain Ixigo balance.
Ixigo is their main travel app - They’re heavily subscribed to the ecosystem and maintain an Ixigo Money balance. They use add-on services such as Ixigo Assured and Smart web check-in on every trip (high monetary value)
Campaign Ideation and Prioritization
The RICE framework is a prioritization tool used in product management. It stands for Reach, Impact, Confidence, and Effort. Reach estimates how many people a project will affect, Impact gauges its benefit, Confidence assesses the certainty of estimates, and Effort measures the time required. This helps prioritize projects for maximum impact. Here’s the RICE framework analysis for engagement campaigns for ixigo:
Campaign
Target Segment
Reach
Impact
Confidence
Effort (Based on Expense)
(R*I*C)/E
1. 50% off on convenience fee on 1 booking in the next 3 months
Casual → Core
60
4
80%
3
64
2. Offer ixigo Assured at 50% off on the next order
Casual → Core
70
3
90%
3
63
3. Pitch popular locations in the off-season months to users who like to travel
Casual → Core
70
3
90%
4
47
4. 10% discount on booking an airport cab, this offer is given on completing the flight booking
Core → Power
30
2
90%
4
14
5. Retargeting users who completed booking successfully by offering a 10% discount on hotels booked through ixigo to their travel destination
Core → Power
30
3
90%
5
16
Engagement Campaign:
Engagement campaigns are initiatives to engage customers through personalized communication, loyalty programs, and interactive content. These campaigns can enhance customer satisfaction, drive conversions, and build long-term loyalty.
Take a look at the campaigns for ixigo by the GrowthX members:
Campaign
Objective
Messaging
Target Segment
Engagement lever
Medium
1. 50% off on convenience fee on up to 1 booking in the next 3 months (Spend)
As validated by the Product team at ixigo, the retention rate % for users increases when they use the add-on ixigo assured on their flight bookings.
Grab this offer before it expires. Get 50% off on convenience fee on your next flight ticket from ixigo.
Heroes In-waiting, Lapsing Heroes
Frequency
Push Notifications, In-App Notification, Whatsapp
2. Offer ixigo Assured at 50% off on the next order (Spend)
To encourage users to come back to ixigo from time to time to increase the frequency of booking.
Grab this offer before it expires. Get 50% off on ixigo Assured on your next flight ticket from ixigo.
Lapsed Heroes, Lapsing
Frequency
Push Notifications, Whatsapp

Retention

Customer retention is the ability of a company to keep its customers over time.
High retention rates lead to increased customer lifetime value, repeat business, and consistent revenue streams, all of which drive sustainable business growth and profitability.
The current User Retention Rate is 13.84%. The curve tends to flatten at M9.
ixigo’s retention curve
ixigo’s retention curve
Which ICPs drive the best retention?
ICP 1 (Akshit Jain)
This persona books their own tickets and interacts with the platform for information regularly.
Akshit loves to explore places and he is also tech-savvy. He uses different apps for booking and managing his travel. He’s always looking for great destinations and pocket-friendly fares on flights. He usually weighs the pros & cons before deciding on their mode of travel.
 
What channels drive the best retention?
Organic search
  • Users who subscribe to Fare Alerts on ixigo come back to the app to book a ticket that they had previously searched for and make a purchase.
  • Many users come back to ixigo to redeem their ixigo money to make a repeat purchase since it’s 100% redeemable on flight tickets
  • Most users come to ixigo through Google Searches when they find a lucrative price point on a ticket they’re eyeing (Desktop)
Word of mouth/Referral
  • Most of these users have switched from other OTA platforms to ixigo due to incremental price benefits from ixigo money.
  • Retention for such users is higher than the ones that come via the acquisition channel.
Notifications
In-App messages, App push notifications, Emails, SMS, WhatsApp
 
What sub-features or sub-products drive the best retention?
ixigo Assured
  • This feature helps user to cancel their flights in some unforeseen situations at before 24 hours of departure of flight, they can have full refund of their booking amount in minutes
  • No questions asked
  • No documentation required
 
ixigo Money
  • It is a virtual platform currency where 1 ixigo money = Rs 1.
  • Can be used 100% of ixigo money on a single booking
  • Valid for 60 days, which enables user to prevent loss of aversion, thereby transacting more on the platform.
  • User gets more of this platform currency on every transaction→ incentivizing good behavior.
 
ixigo Money Max
  • Complete booking amount is reimbursed if your booking gets cancelled or didn’t go through, 100% of amount is reimbursed as ixigo money max balance.
  • Unlimited validity
  • Can be transferred into bank account.
 
Fare Alerts
  • Users get hugely discounted fares, early-bird offers, last-minute promotions, deals and discounts via alerts on mail
  • The app automatically shares alerts for the common places, preferred travelled routes etc.
  • Will store a history of recently searched flights and send automated alerts for best deals.
 
Reasons for Churn
The churn rate is the measure of the rate at which the number of paying customers declines.
Churn
Type of Churn
Bad customer service
Voluntary
Payment failure
Voluntary
Delayed updates on Flight status
Voluntary
Mismatch in the Expected & Actual price of tickets
Voluntary
Delays in reimbursement after cancellation
Voluntary
Found a better overall price for the same ticket at a competitor's platform
Voluntary
Mismatch in flight ticket availability
Voluntary
Paid for an add-on but didn’t receive it (Meal)
Voluntary
Moved to a remote location with no airports
In-Voluntary
Unable to travel by air due to medical reasons
In-Voluntary
To track potential negative actions that may indicate churn for ixigo-flights, we can monitor the following metrics:
Negative action
How to prevent/address it
Increasing support tickets
Look at the common issues in the support tickets and address them
Social media, app store, play store reviews and ratings
Go through the reviews, assure them that it won’t happen again and resolve the issue
Frequency of opening app is decreasing
look at the past behavior of user and look for pattern, target the user via app notifications to fulfill the purpose
Lower Interactions per session
Industry leading user experience, create brand recall
User drops after checking price everytime
Show offers/coupons, discounted price, etc
Low NPS and CSAT score
Understand the problems users are facing and resolve them
Resurrection Campaign:
Resurrection campaigns are marketing efforts aimed at re-engaging inactive or lost customers. They focus on rekindling interest through targeted offers, personalized messages, and incentives to win back customers.
User Segmentation
At-risk Users
Churned
Lapsing Heroes, Casual, Lapsed Heroes
Lapsing Heroes, Casual Users, ICP 1
Lapsed Heroes, Lost Cause
Negative Actions Detected
Dropped off on the ixigo flights’ apps Payments Page
Didn’t book a flight in the last 3 months.
Not booked in more than 6 months.
Pitch/Content
Finish the booking now and get 300/- off on ixigo Assured. Free Cancellation. No questions asked.
We have missed you! Come back and check out these exciting offers.
Now book a flight ticket and get ixigo Assured at just 200/-
Offer
300/- off on ixigo assured.
Explore Goa next month…Book your flight ticket starting at 1,500/-.
Get free cancelation up to 24 hours with ixigo assured.
Value Derived
Comfort to book tickets in case of ambiguity.
Recommendations based on seasonality and location.
Assurance of guaranteed returns
Timing
Every time a user drops at the payments page
During the holiday seasons, weekends.
Post 6 months mark of inactivity
Channel
App Notification, WhatsApp Push
Email, Push Notification, WhatsApp
Email, Whatsapp, SMS
Frequency of offer
During the drop, after 1 day of dropping
After office hours, twice a week
Weekly twice
Success metrics
The number of successful transactions in a given time period.
Booked at least one trip by looking at the news and travel section within the next 1 month
Booked at least one flight in the next two months

Monetisation

A monetization strategy is a way for companies to generate revenue from its user base by providing additional value according to the usage, willingness to pay and profitability.
 
The numbers speak for themselves.
ixigo has the highest app usage among OTAs, with 83 million monthly active users cumulatively across its apps. In September 2023, ixigo recorded 4.9 million monthly app downloads, as per data.ai. This was more monthly app downloads than all other OTAs in that month.
Willingness to Pay
  • Our member’s research with current users of ixigo as well as the competitors reflects a ‘Willingness to Pay’ if the customer is given the right experience and value.
  • They are willing to pay comparative charges to other companies and even premium if the information and convenience are superlative.
 
Is ixigo Ready for Monetization?
Yes, ixigo is ready for monetization due to its deep engagement with users, strong revenue contributions from core and power segments, and willingness of users to pay for added value on a recurring basis.
 
Substitute Pricing
  • What core problem does ixigo solve?
    • Convenient, reliable, and user-friendly platform for booking tickets online.
  • What are users buying into?
    • Users are buying convenience, reliability, a wide range of options, and a seamless booking experience.
  • What are the other ways to fulfill the same use case?
    • Competing platforms (like Yatra, MakeMyTrip), offline travel agents, directly at bus terminals, railways station.
    • Substitute way
      Flexibility to use
      Convenience
      Core users
      Recommendations
      Other OTAs
      Easy
      Low
      ICP 1&2
      Excellent
      Offline Booking
      Medium
      Medium
      ICP 2
      Good
      Local Travel Agents
      Medium
      Low
      ICP 1&2
      Average
Pricing Strategy
Who to Charge?
User
Why?
Core and Power Users
They make up a significant portion of revenue and are more engaged with the platform.
Casual Users
Convert them into regular users through targeted offers and incentives.
What to Charge For?
Output
Charge for the tickets and additional services (e.g., insurance, premium seats).
Access
Charge for premium features like early access to sales, VIP customer support.
Time
Charge for expedited services, such as faster booking and priority boarding.
User
What to Charge for?
When to Charge?
How much to Charge?
Non-Activated user on App for features
Features, Time on App - Monetise by sharing advertisements
NA - Advertisement revenue with each of the features/ app
Casual
Features, Convenience - Core Value Proposition (Booking) + Monetise through targeted advertisements
The transaction stage is when the customer sees the value
Transaction Fee as per the train/ flight category for the core JTBD
Core
Features, Convenience -Core Value Prop + Value Added Services + Features like ixigo assured. Selectively Monetise through targeted advertisements
Transaction stage for initial booking + Monetise for features like booking of meals for train journey either at the time of booking or later while traveling
Transaction Fee as per the train/ flight/ hotel category for the core JTBD + fee for ixigo assured feature
Power
Features, Convenience -Core Value Prop + Features like ixigo assured + Upselling/ Cross Selling + Extremely selected ads not to annoy this category of users
Transaction stage for initial booking + ixigo assured + Monetise for features like booking of meals for train journey either at the time of booking or later while traveling
Transaction Fee as per the train/ flight/ hotel category for the core JTBD + fee for ixigo assured feature
Perceived Value and Pricing
Perceived Value:
  • Money: Users perceive value in terms of competitive pricing, discounts, and special offers.
  • Time: Saving time by avoiding long queues and hassle-free booking.
  • Efficiency: Streamlined booking process, easy cancellations, and refunds.
  • Dopamine: Satisfaction from getting the best deals, smooth travel experience, and reliable service.
 
How Much to Charge?
  • Base Ticket Price: Competitive with market rates, potentially slightly higher for premium routes and services.
  • Premium Features: Additional charges for VIP services, better seats, faster bookings, etc.
 
How to Show Pricing?
  1. Bundled Packages: Offer bundled packages with discounts for round trips, group bookings, and frequent travelers.
  1. Dynamic Pricing: Implement dynamic pricing based on demand, time of booking, and seat availability.
  1. Personalized Offers: Provide personalized offers based on user behavior and preferences.
 
Member Recommendation:
We recommend adding services, offers, and nudges before the customer completes his booking process by giving him options to book one or more of the following. The offers will come across as value additions rather than upselling.
  1. ixigo Prime membership - increasing the AOV as well as repeat transactions
  1. List of Hotels, Restaurants, and Spas which can be recommended and an offer given on them which in turn helps in monetizing through commissions.
  1. Also, plug in the opportunity to book further models of travel from the destination that he is traveling to.
  1. Finally, we also use it for taking customers’ feedback on what kind of other services he needs as part of their travel requirements.
By leveraging these strategies, Abhibus can effectively monetize its platform while providing significant value to its users.

What are the Cost Levers for ixigo?

Well, some of these costs are borne by most players in the industry while some costs could be confined to specific company requirement. Here are the cost levers of ixigo in detail:
  1. Technology and Related Costs:
2023 Expense: ₹22.302 crores
This category includes expenses related to AI and machine learning. These technologies are essential for improving the platform's functionality, enhancing user experience, and maintaining a competitive edge. Investments in this area can drive innovation but need to be balanced to avoid overspending.
  1. Employee Benefits Expenses:
  • 2023 Expense: ₹126.261 crores
This includes salaries, bonuses, benefits, and other employee-related costs. As ixigo grows, retaining and attracting talent becomes crucial. However, these costs need to be managed carefully to ensure they align with revenue growth and productivity improvements.
ixigo has a dedicated in-house technology and product team comprising 235 employees, as of December 31, 2023. Their technology and product team comprised 48.35% of their total employees, as of December 31, 2023.
  1. Expense on Cloud Infrastructure and Technology:
  • 2023 Expense: ₹10.588 crores
Cloud infrastructure costs cover the expenses for data storage, computing power, and related services. Efficient management of these costs is essential to ensure that the platform remains scalable and robust without incurring excessive expenses.
  1. Customer Refund and Cancellation Costs:
  • 2023 Expense: ₹97.627 crores
These costs are associated with refunding and canceling customer bookings, specifically under services like ixigo assured and ixigo assured flex. These costs can fluctuate based on customer behavior and external factors like travel disruptions. Managing these expenses involves improving customer satisfaction and minimizing the need for refunds through better service and clearer policies.
  1. Consumer Acquisition Costs:
  • 2023 Expense: ₹13.157 crores
This includes costs related to acquiring new customers, such as marketing campaigns, promotions, and other outreach activities. Effective customer acquisition strategies can lead to growth, but these costs need to be optimized to ensure a good return on investment.
  1. Advertising and Sales Promotion Expenses:
  • 2023 Expense: ₹93.154 crores
These are costs associated with advertising campaigns, promotional activities, and sales incentives. These expenses are vital for brand awareness and market penetration but need to be measured against the revenue they generate to ensure they are cost-effective.
💡
GrowthX is an invite-only club for ambitious founder & growth leaders.
Our members are top founders, product & marketing leaders from 2,400+ internet companies like Google, Canva, CRED & Netflix.
The GrowthX Membership is built on 3 core pillars:
First, learning experience
Learn the science of revenue-led growth with frameworks actionable the next Monday morning.
Second, curated community
access to a safe space for you to soundboard anything that is stressing you at work.
Third, professional outcomes
Over 35% of members are founders & are able to hire growth teams to scale revenue for their companies while operators are able to get into breakout leadership roles.
 

Market Opportunity

Adapting to Changing Consumer Demands
As India's middle class expands and connectivity improves, more individuals are opting for air travel over traditional modes like rail. This shift, fueled by increasing digital penetration even in Tier II and Tier III cities, underscores a burgeoning demand for convenient, online travel solutions. Voice and gesture-based technologies are poised to redefine how users interact with travel platforms, offering faster and more intuitive booking experiences, which ixigo is keenly poised to leverage.
Diversifying Verticals and Enhancing User Experience
Ixigo's strategic approach to diversifying into new travel-related verticals positions it as a comprehensive 'one-stop' solution for travelers. By forging partnerships with banks, fintech companies, and corporates, ixigo not only enhances its service offerings but also augments user engagement through value-added services like book-now, pay-later options and seamless integration with superapps and payment platforms.
Capitalizing on Infrastructure Developments
With India's railway sector setting international benchmarks in safety and comfort, and significant investments in road infrastructure promising reduced travel times, ixigo is well-positioned to capitalize on these developments. The introduction of initiatives like Vande Bharat and the expansion of air-conditioned coaches are expected to drive revenue growth across the rail segment, while improved inter-city connectivity via express highways opens up new avenues in the bus travel segment.
Looking Ahead
As ixigo continues to innovate and expand its service offerings, including travel insurance and foreign exchange services, through strategic partnerships, the platform not only enhances revenue streams but also enriches the travel experience for users nationwide. With a finger on the pulse of India's evolving travel preferences and infrastructure advancements, ixigo is poised to lead the charge in shaping the future of travel technology in the region.

Challenges

As ixigo continues to navigate the dynamic landscape of travel technology in India, several challenges loom on the horizon, each requiring strategic foresight and innovation to overcome.
1. Airline Industry Dynamics
The recent disruptions and stoppages of multiple airlines have created an imbalance between demand for air travel and available seat volumes. While newer inventory from Air India and Indigo is anticipated to stabilize this imbalance in the next few years, fluctuations in airline operations and market dynamics could pose challenges to ixigo's ability to consistently offer competitive pricing and availability to its users.
2. International Competition in Hospitality
The increasing presence of international OTAs like AirBnb, Booking.com in the hospitality sector brings formidable competition, leveraging global networks and competitive pricing strategies. Differentiating ixigo's offerings in this segment, despite parity in product features, will be crucial to maintaining market relevance and user loyalty.
3. Impact of Economic Changes
Fluctuations in the economy, such as periods of economic slowdown or inflation, could lead to reduced discretionary spending on travel. This may directly impact ixigo's transaction volumes and revenue streams, necessitating agile strategies to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and preferences.
4. Competition in Rail Segment
Partnerships between IRCTC and other OTAs could potentially impact ixigo's market share in the rail segment. Government initiatives or regulatory changes favoring specific platforms could influence user preferences and booking patterns, requiring ixigo to innovate in service offerings and customer engagement strategies.
5. Regulatory and Technological Challenges
Regulations governing the use of AI/ML in meta searches and travel technology could impose constraints on ixigo's operational capabilities. Adapting to evolving regulatory frameworks while maintaining competitive advantage through technological innovation will be crucial in ensuring sustained growth and compliance.
6. Government Restrictions on Travel
Periodic government restrictions or regulations related to travel, whether due to security concerns, health crises, or geopolitical tensions, could disrupt travel patterns and reduce overall market activity. Navigating these uncertainties while maintaining operational resilience will be essential for ixigo's long-term sustainability.

Glossary

To add more context to ixigo business model, let us take a look at some general industry terms used to understand and measure the performance of OTAs.
Term
Description
API
Application programming interface
Annual Active Users
Annual Active Users refers to the number of unique devices (including, amongst others, laptops and mobile phones) which have recorded at least one visit to a page/ screen on our platforms in a given period, cumulated across ixigo, ConfirmTkt and AbhiBus websites and apps
Annual Transacting Users
Annual Transacting Users refers to the number of unique transacting users identified by user’s mobile number and/or email address, that have made at least one booking through an OTA platform for a given period
Contribution Margin
Contribution Margin is defined as net ticketing revenue plus other operating revenue less direct expenses
Customer Acquisition Cost
Customer acquisition cost is calculated based on the amount spent on advertising and sales promotion divided by the number of New Transacting Users in the relevant period
Gross Ticketing Revenue
Gross ticketing revenue refers to the total revenue earned (gross of all discounts) for the OTA services and products booked through us in the relevant period
Gross Take Rate
Gross take rate refers to Gross Ticketing Revenue divided by Gross Transaction Value during the relevant period
Gross Transaction Value/GTV
Gross transaction value refers to the total amount paid (including taxes, fees and service charges, gross of all discounts) by users for the OTA services and products booked through us in the relevant period
Monthly Active Users/MAUs
Monthly active users is the number of unique devices (including, amongst others, laptops and mobile phones) which have recorded at least one visit in a month to a page/screen on an OTA platform
Monthly Transacting Users/MTUs
Monthly transacting users is the number of unique transacting users identified by users’ mobile number and/or e-mail address, as applicable, that have made at least one booking through us, in a given period, divided by the number if months in that period, cumulated across website and apps
Passenger Segments
Passenger segments refers to the total number of point-to-point passenger tickets booked between two cities, airports, train stations or bus stations, as applicable, whether or not such a ticket is part of a larger or longer itinerary. For example, a booking made with two passengers for a return flight consists of four passenger segments.
Registered Users
Registered users refers to users who have provided their unique mobile number or email address, as applicable, on OTA platforms
Repeat Transaction Rate
Repeat transaction rate is calculated as percentage of transactions by repeat transacting users, identified by their unique mobile number and/or e-mail address, where a repeat transacting user is any user who has already transacted through our platforms at least once in the preceding 36 months

Written by