GTM interviews Raj Rishi Singh, Chief Business Officer – GCC at MakeMyTrip
Make My Trip brings you some of their favourite spots for holidays this year. If you are seeking a well-needed escape, then look no further as Make My Trip experts search near and far to source the best places across a range of hotels and resorts for UAE travellers.
Give us an overview on Makemytrip.com
MakeMyTrip is a pioneer in online travel industry. Founded in the year 2000 by Deep Kalra, MakeMyTrip came to life to empower the travellers with instant bookings and comprehensive travel choices available with just a few clicks online. The company initiated its journey serving the US-India travel market offering a range of best-value products and services powered by technology and round-the-clock customer support.
After consolidating its position in the market as a brand recognized for its reliability and transparency, MakeMyTrip launched its India operations in 2005. With more and more Indians initiating to transact online with Indian Railways and new opportunities with the advent of low cost carriers, MakeMyTrip offered travellers the convenience of booking travel online with a few clicks. With untiring determination, MakeMyTrip has proactively diversified its product offering, adding a variety of online and offline products and services. MakeMyTrip has stayed ahead of the curve by continually evolving its technology to meet the ever-changing demands of the rapidly developing global travel market, steadily establishing itself as leading online travel company.
We forayed into GCC in April 2020 and since then the journey has been encouraging despite the pandemic. We are bullish on the amazing opportunities that this market has to offer and are confident that in the coming months, we will be able to truly transform travel experience of discerning travellers in UAE and other GCC countries. Our biggest differentiator is the fact that we are a one stop travel shop – helping people book flights, hotels or curated holiday packages with just a few taps on the app. Now travellers can discover, choose, and book travel options without switching between different apps. At MakeMyTrip, we are looking forward to pass on the numerous benefits of booking through a single app to our customers across GCC.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
The pandemic has had a cataclysmic effect on the global travel & tourism industry. From hitting zero revenue when countries went into a lockdown to picking momentum on recovery as the situation began easing out –in hindsight, this adversity helped realign focus on building travel products and solutions for the post pandemic world. During this tumultuous period, at MakeMyTrip, we readapted our offerings to assure safety standardization and augmented hygiene standards to ensure that our customers travel in a safe and hygienically secure environment throughout their journey. Together with our partners across the value chain, we successfully rolled out offerings for airlines, hotels and holiday packages including Staycations, Daycations in conformity with MySafety, our safety assurance program that ensures safety across all travel touchpoints. Additionally, to offer worry-free travel planning amid ever-evolving travel regulations across countries, we curated comprehensive content repositories and exhaustive guidebooks to provide real-time information on quarantine guidelines, step-by-step instructions and more.
Having launched in the UAE in English, we recently launched the platform in Arabic suiting the local market’s linguistic needs. Also, as part of our long-term strategy, we hope to introduce our exhaustive outbound holiday inventory – that currently focuses on short-haul travel within GCC or to countries that are within five to six hours of air travel including UK, Singapore, Maldives and Thailand among others. Soon, we will be foraying into other countries within GCC. As travel picks-up, we are noticing a consistent increase in searches and bookings from travellers on MakeMyTrip. Over the past few weeks, we have seen a spike in searches for flight bookings to UAE, and we anticipate that this trend will continue to grow stronger in the coming months as UAE gets ready to welcome visitors for the EXPO. Travellers, however, are preferring to book closer to their travel dates – with many making a booking a day or two prior to the date of travel. In the coming months, we are looking forward to see fully vaccinated travellers return to traveling to the UAE again for leisure as well as business, and of course to attend the EXPO. Sports tourism is also likely to see a great comeback around IPL and the T20 World Cup – inviting sports enthusiasts and cricket fans from India into the region.
Have you signed up with any new properties recently or formed new partnerships?
As a home to travellers who seek superior travel experiences at every step of their journey – we are fully prepared to cater to diverse needs of the local emirate and expatriate population in GCC. We have been working closely with the local tourism authorities and partners in UAE for over a decade now as we catered to the demands of Indian outbound travellers visiting the region. Today, as we expand our presence in GCC, we are looking forward to cement the relationship further with our partners and the ecosystem by solving for domestic and international travel demands of customers from UAE and across GCC.
Apart from travel and hospitality partners, our other service partners include with banks including ADCD, ENBD, American Express, Mashreq; and e-commerce brands such as Noon and Careem among others. Alongside, our focus remains on expanding our list of hospitality partners to ensure that our customers can choose from a wide-range of superior accommodation options within GCC and overseas as well. Recently, we extended our partnerships with Accor and Radisson Hotels in KSA, Dusit Thani Hotels & Resorts in Thailand, InterContinental Hotels Group in Maldives, Millennium Hotels and Resorts in Russia and a few more.
What are the most popular destinations right now?
With various international leisure destinations opening up for travellers from GCC, we have seen a significant uptick in travel to Egypt, Turkey and Maldives. In September, we have also witnessed an increase in searches and booking enquires for Cairo, Istanbul, Casablanca, Tbilisi and Saint Petersburg.
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