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Gurugram-based travel search marketplace, ixigo, has launched a virtual travel currency to enable users to initiate payments and transactions while travelling.

As per the official statement, travellers using ixigo app for making bookings will earn ixigo money. There will be no restricted usage limit on ixigo money earned through the bookings and the users can avail instant discounts on future bookings as well.

In addition, customers will also be able to use the virtual money across multiple online travel aggregators (OTAs) while booking flight tickets. The virtual travel currency has an expiration period of six months.

Travellers who make bookings using ixigo money will not be charged any extra convenience fee.

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Speaking about the problem that ixigo is looking to solve with ixigo money, co-founder and CEO Alok Bajpai said, “Research reveals that travellers in India are tired of gimmicky travel loyalty programmes, cashback offers, and wallets that come with limitations and restrictions on their earning and usage. Most existing programmes, have minimum booking values to earn anything at all, you get your cashback or earnings many days after your booking and your earned value is most likely to expire within 90 days. Also, you can never use all of your earnings at once, as they only allow usage of a small percentage on every transaction.”

Rival travel search firms such as MakeMyTrip and Goibibo, which strive to become changemakers in the online travel space, are also offering earned bonus cash on bookings but with certain restrictions.

In order to compete with them, ixigo claims to be providing full value to the customer’s money. To that end, the company has ensured that each unit of ixigo virtual travel currency is equivalent to one rupee.

The additional features with which the ixigo travel interface has been equipped pertain to account management, usage tracking as well as tracking of remaining balance expiration date.

To reward first-time users, ixigo under its launch offer will credit a sum of $15 and $30 as joining bonus money on domestic and international flight ticket bookings, respectively. For its existing customers, the company will provide a sum of $8 on domestic flight ticket bookings.

The Indian online travel market has gone through major consolidations in the recent times. Recently, Ebix acquired Bengaluru-based travel search portal Via.com for $77 Mn. Furthermore with MakeMyTrip and Goibibo coming together, while Yatra acquiring Air Travel Bureau (ATB), the remaining players are now bound to come up with new strategies to keep their market share intact in the current ecosystem and come up with new ways of enticing customers.

With the Indian consumer already driven towards digital payments, adding virtual travel currency to its bucket with such less spending restrictions, is a good strategy to battle in the current atmosphere of the cut-throat battle. With players like Paytm, Justdial also adding travel ticketing verticals to their portfolio, whether ixigo will be able to strengthen its positioning amidst the bigger players is something that remains to be seen.

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