Indian OTA Yatra.com has identified an immediate offline-to-online shift in bookings after the government took some older banknotes out of circulation at short notice.
The so-called “demonitisation” was announced at the start of November, effectively giving notice that older 500 rupees ($7.40) and 1000 rupees ($14.80) notes were no longer legal tender. Holders were given a time limit to exchange old notes for new ones.
The controversial move was seen by some as an attempt to encourage Indian customers to use digital payment options.
Yatra’s winter survey was carried out after the announcement and found that “57.9% travellers [are] booking through the desktop” and “a drastic dip in booking through offline agents”.
Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer of Yatra’s B2B businesses, notes: With demonetization, the trend of cashless transactions in travel will go up, and this will have significant medium to long term positives for online travel agents like us”.
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