Anshuman Bapna is a famous personality in India’s travel startup ecosystem for all the right reasons, from the interesting things Mygola did every now and then to the quirky video announcing the acquisition by MakeMyTrip. Since the acquisition, he has been inducing startup like agility in the travel booking giant working as Chief Product Officer. A while back at the TiE Travel Marketing Summit 2016, he shared some insights from the mine of booking data MakeMyTrip has and also some learnings from the Mygola days. Here are the highlights:
Don’t forget the desktop yet
There is no denying the fact that mobile is increasingly becoming the tool of choice for travellers to get inspired and even book in most cases. However, the conversions on desktop still continue to run high and that isn’t something that can be ignored. Travel is often a cross device purchase which is why the desktop continues to hold relevance and businesses should account for that.
Age divides platforms
Another interesting insight Anshuman shared was that while a very significant fraction of new users were coming to MakeMyTrip through mobile, they weren’t very loyal. The desktop users had a tendency to stick around for longer when compared to mobile users. Younger users are on mobile while relatively older ones are more biased towards desktop.
Travellers are spontaneous
The hotel category has exploded in domestic market and the online penetration has gone up significantly over the past 18 months. More travellers are planning last minute which means more than a third of hotel bookings on MMT are taking place on the same day. Anshuman shared that MakeMyTrip considered adding new tools to cater to last minute bookings only to realise that their mobile web version was already serving as one offering good conversion for same day bookings.
Sell to the right audience
MakeMyTrip has been promoting through different channels including TV commercials. On observing that large fraction of their users belong to the 18-35 year bracket with most of the new user acquisitions happening in 18-24 segment, they tweaked their marketing campaigns. Which is why they brought in younger movie stars to represent the brand in TVCs to connect better with the audience.
Experiment for quick growth
He also shared how the Mygola team used to list down sets of experiments for different marketing channels. They will then try 40-45 marketing experiments in less than a year, draw inferences, fine tune the strategies and repeat the process. According to him, content only has 30 percent contribution in getting the word out, rest is distribution and that is what one should focus on.
Marketing and technology aren’t exclusive
Recalling some of the experiments at Mygola, he emphasised that leveraging technology in marketing can produce great results. At one point, the Mygola team built a basic program to simulate conversations to help people posting travel queries on Twitter. As this picked up, they were getting more than half of the sign ups from Twitter which is a big number for a single social platform.
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