In line with earlier reports that Flipkart was looking to foray into the online travel aggregator (OTA) space, the homegrown ecommerce unicorn has now forged a strategic partnership with MakeMyTrip.
As part of the alliance, Flipkart will, henceforth, offer travel services on its platform. Additionally, under the tie-up, all offerings of three of MakeMyTrip’s brands – MakeMyTrip, Goibibo and redBus – will now be available to Flipkart consumers.
Commenting on the development, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO of Flipkart said, “Flipkart and MakeMyTrip have played a defining role in shaping the consumer internet ecosystem in India and bringing millions of people online. This strategic partnership helps us make travel booking a seamless experience for customers, even those in the farthest regions, while also furthering our goal of being a one-stop destination for all digital transactions online.”
Through the partnership, MakeMyTrip will be able to leverage Flipkart’s growing consumer base to drive online bookings in travel services. At present, Flipkart has over 100 Mn registered users.
Deep Kalra, Founder and Group CEO of MakeMyTrip added, “Flipkart is one of the most exciting companies of our times and we are delighted to partner with them to catalyse the massive online travel opportunity in India. This partnership will help us reach out to an even wider consumer base and further open up the online travel market in a significant way.”
According to sources close to the development, within the next few days, Flipkart will start selling domestic flights on its platform. Other travel offerings, – including hotels, bus and holiday packages – will be introduced in the coming weeks.
Flipkart And Its Foray Into Online Travel Sector
Reports of Flipkart’s intentions to enter the country’s online travel market first surfaced in the last week of March. At the time, it was said that the ecommerce giant would be providing a couple of new travel services to its customers.
Flipkart was aiming to launch these services through tie-ups with partners from specific industries, the reports further stated. According to some sources, Flipkart is also out head-hunting for a category head as well.
These speculations originally started when Rajesh Magow, Co-founder and CEO of MakeMyTrip (MMT), returned to Flipkart’s board after a gap of two years.
Interestingly, Rajesh Magow is not the only common thread between Flipkart and MMT. Other than the co-founder of MMT, both the companies have a common investor i.e. Naspers.
Earlier, Flipkart’s CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy had said that increasing the number of monthly active users on the platform would be crucial to the upcoming strategies that would be adopted by the ecommerce giant.
The number of its live audience would be a key metric in adopting strategies, as a result, the strategy to diversify through the travel vertical must well be in line with Flipkart’s strategy.
From Ecommerce To Online Grocery: Flipkart’s Ambitious Diversification Plans
This move by Flipkart is not surprising, as the ecommerce unicorn has been on a diversification route for some time now. It launched an exclusive line of air conditioners and smart televisions under its private label MarQ, at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas.
It also launched Supermart, with which the company started tapping on the rising opportunity in the Indian online grocery segment, but with much caution this time, considering the bitter experience it had in its previous stint (Nearby) in the segment.
To bolster its business against rival Amazon, the Bengaluru-headquartered company was also reported to be looking into the diversification route through investment and acquisition.
According to sources close to the development, Flipkart has also expressed interest in backing online food delivery app Swiggy, hyperlocal services firm UrbanClap, furniture retailer UrbanLadder as well as startups in insurance and wealth management sectors.
According to a Google India-BCG report, the country’s travel market (both offline and online) is expected to become a $48 Bn industry within the next three years. As per an IBEF report, the online travel space will likely account for 40% to 50% of total transactions by 2020.
Through its partnership with MakeMyTrip, Flipkart is looking to ride the growing online travel wave in India, with the aim of getting ahead its chief rival Amazon.