NASDAQ listed online travel aggregator (OTA) Yatra reported 64% QoQ improvement in total revenues at INR 50.68 Cr during the fourth quarter of financial year 2021 (Q4 FY21) as the company recovered a significant recovery in flight and hotel bookings.
The Gurugram-based OTA posted a higher loss from operations during Q4 FY21 at INR 59.78Cr, compared to an operating loss of INR 21.69 Cr in the previous quarter (Q3 FY21), according to its financial statements released on July 8.
The company also billed significantly higher gross bookings (hotels and flights) of 746.65 crore tickets sold during the three month period of Q4 FY21, compared to 575.81 crore tickets sold in the previous quarter.
The majority of the ticket bookings came from the flights segment which contributed to 87% of the gross bookings in Q4 FY21. In absolute value, flight ticketing revenue jumped 48.3% QoQ to INR 63.55 Cr in the same quarter, while revenue from the hotel segment improved 67.3% QoQ to INR 18.34 Cr in Q4 FY21.
Yet, the company makes a higher net revenue margin from hotel bookings which stood at 18.8% in Q4 FY21, while air ticketing margins stood only at 9.8% in the same period.
However, when compared to the same quarter previous year, Yatra’s overall revenue declined by 60.5% YoY. In Q4 FY21, just before the pandemic swept India, Yatra had reported a higher total revenue of INR 128.40 Cr. At that time, Yatra sold 1,522 crore air tickets, and 143 crore hotel bookings on its platform.
Dhruv Shringi, cofounder and CEO of Yatra said in a statement that domestic flight bookings in the country on an average recovered to 60% of pre-Covid levels in the reporting quarter.
In the three months of Q4 FY21, around 10.96 lakh individual passengers booked flight tickets on Yatra, compared to 18.31 lakh passengers who had booked flight tickets in the same quarter last year (Q4 FY21). On the hotel booking segment, around 294,000 standalone hotel nights were booked on the platform in Q4 FY21, compared to 238,000 standalone nights booked in the same quarter previous year.
“As we are all well aware, subsequent to the closing of our March quarter, India suffered a severe setback as a second COVID wave hit India with case counts peaking in the 400K /day range and many regions once again began to curb travel. Thankfully, since peaking on May 6, case counts have sharply declined and today are at about a third of their peak and India has managed to administer over 230 million vaccine doses,” Shringi said.
However, Yatra did not recover much of its international flights ticket bookings due to the second wave that ravaged the country in April to May 2021. During the conference call with analysts for the fourth quarter of 2021, Shringi said that international flight bookings recovery remained muted and only expects a recovery towards the end of the year.
“On the international air front, recovery continues to be muted and now further impacted by the second wave. We expect the recovery in International travel to continue to be more gradual and more likely towards the end of this calendar year and largely dependent on the case counts and rate of global vaccinations,” he added.
Although travel demand was subdued due to high case counts and partial lockdowns across the country, OTAs like Yatra have begun to see early signs of recovery in the past few days.
“As demonstrated by our solid March quarter results, we believe that given our liquidity, strong brand and large customer base, we are well poised to capitalise on a recovery in the travel industry,” Shringi added in the June 8 statement.
The travel and hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit this year, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant country-wide lockdown. Currently, most of the online travel aggregators are facing severe losses due to the Covid-19 lockdown that was enforced last year, and due to ongoing restriction on travel activities in many other states.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the year 2021 is going to be especially difficult for India’s travel and tourism industry, with estimated revenue and job losses at $17 billion and 40 million (both direct and indirect) respectively. On August 31, India’s GDP numbers for the April-June quarter of 2020 revealed that the hotels’ sector had contracted by 47%, with the Indian economy at large recording a negative growth rate of 23.9%, the first time it has contracted in more than 40 years.