MakeMyTrip’s paid users for loyalty service rise 25%; may bring back Oyo inventory

MakeMyTrip Ltd is targeting more paid subscribers and has hinted at the possibility of bringing back hotel aggregator Oyo’s inventory on its platform as part of measures to boost growth.

The country’s largest online travel services provider had, in the April-June quarter of 2017, launched loyalty programme MMTBlack and paid membership programme MMTDoubleBlack to target high-frequency travellers.

MMTBlack has enrolled 135,000 subscribers at the end of December 2017, up from 73,000 three months before, founder and CEO Deep Kalra said in a conference call with analysts after the company announced its quarterly earnings. The number of MMTDoubleBlack users has risen to 25% to 20,000 from 16,000, he said.

MMTDoubleBLACK users get benefits such as free cancellations on flights and hotels. The company plans to roll out this membership programme for a wider base of customers in 2018.

Kalra said that the membership programmes are part of strategy to make MakeMyTrip a more premium brand. On the other hand, the ibibo brand will target more value-conscious customers. MakeMyTrip had agreed to buy rival ibibo Group in late 2016. The transaction was completed in February 2017.

The company also indicated that it may revisit its strategy related to SoftBank-backed Oyo. MakeMyTrip and ibibo had removed Oyo from their platforms two years ago, a move aimed at protecting their market share and margins.

In an interview with VCCircle late last year, Kalra had explained the reasons for removing Oyo.

“If we see someone as a supplier, we have no issue. But if we see someone is becoming an aggregator itself on the app, we have an issue and we are not going to help promote that brand,” he had said at the time.

On the recent conference call, Kalra said Oyo has “very competitive” in the budget segment and has been growing its supply footprint aggressively. “Its gradual move on the supply side helps the market dynamics a little bit as well,” he said.

Rajesh Magow, co-founder and CEO for India at MakeMyTrip, was more direct. “When it comes to Oyo, I think we’ll have to start kind of revisiting our approach, because it looks like they’re kind of pivoting more and more towards going on to the hospitality side,” he said.

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