October 30, 2017
 

Subramanya Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Products, Cleartrip, talks about the brand’s successful journey so far as well as the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

ANJU ANNA ALEX

Cleartrip recently celebrated its 11th anniversary. Your comments

It has been a wonderful journey for Cleartrip so far. We have been constantly striving towards one clear goal – to help make travel simple. It is our innovative endeavors and customer fanaticism that have helped us mature as the most sought-after choice among value-oriented customers in the online travel space in India and international markets, and achieve the kind of success that we have had year after year.

Brand philosophy

Right since inception customers have been at the core of our every thought and action. Travel planning is complicated owing to the multiple touch points involved in it, so simplifying products and experiences is the key to standing out. Even till today, we continue to offer a customer exactly what they want when one comes on our site rather than throw distracting banners and waste their effort and time. We continue to sharpen our customer service process and recently introduced a smart IVR which helps customer query resolutions considerably faster.

Future for the brand

For us, the product is the brand and the main marketing channel. The paid marketing strategy complements the product by inducing trial, and we are confident of the product giving us conversion and retention. In terms of tactics, it is a combination of product strategy (which gives us the word of mouth), and highly optimised online performance marketing to get us new customers. We believe that a big percentage of problem statements in travel are yet to be solved. We’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg! This gives us enough space to solve for the long term. From a market standpoint, the markets we currently operate in, India and the Middle East offer significant, yet different opportunities, and that will keep us busy for quite some time.

Short term and long term challenges of the brand

We are in exciting times. The size of disposable income has gone up in the market and the love for travel across age groups has never been higher. Numerous reports speak of how millennials, which form a major of the chunk of India’s population, are prioritising travel over buying a car or even a house. Phenomenal growth of travellers and that of the support ecosystem is inevitable under such circumstances. In parallel, the problem statements in travel space are just partially solved and each of the markets that Cleartrip operates in are growing at over 50%.This combination gives us a wide playfield to solve for the long term. From a market standpoint, India and the Middle East markets with their own set of unique characteristics offer significant opportunities, and that will keep us busy for quite some time. Laser sharp execution and staying true to the course will be the big opportunity as well as our main challenge.

Keeping the pulse on the Indian travel industry for over a decade!

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