Cleartrip, the second-largest homegrown online travel company in India after MakeMyTrip, has acquired full control of Flyin, the largest online travel company based in Saudia Arabia — where most travel continues to be booked offline.
The Middle East market has not yet seen as much competition, which means Cleartrip has a chance to grow there more profitably. Prior to this acquisition, in the fourth quarter of 2017, Cleartrip saw a 59 percent year-on-year increase in bookings in the Middle East region, though it didn’t disclose the actual volumes. It will launch its Cleartrip brand in Egypt this summer.
Cleartrip can bring its technical expertise in mobile that it has developed in India. It aims to shortly introduce a messaging-based booking and service experience that will be more natural to use on mobile than typing in data into text-based forms.
Due to Indian business interests in the Gulf, many travelers cross between India and the Middle East regions. So Cleartrip may enjoy many cross-selling opportunities and growth from its existing customer base.
But the Indian and Middle Eastern markets offer different opportunities and challenges. It will be tricky for the combined company to maintain an execute dual and somewhat conflicting strategies.
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