The discounted fare offers made by airlines last week evoked mixed response as Internet-savvy flyers seem to have booked more tickets as compared to those booking through travel agencies. While the online travel agencies like yatra.com and makemytrip.com have reported substantial jump in booking during the offer period, the offline travel agencies said the offers had witnessed lukewarm response.
Airlines declined to reveal the number of seats sold during the promotional offer period citing company policy, but according to travel industry officials, Indigo and Air India managed to attract more number of flyers as compared to other airlines.
Air India officials told The Hindu that they had received ‘overwhelming’ response forcing them to extend the scheme till Monday.
“The offer made by the airlines evoked lukewarm response because travel does not happen in February and March. Corporates do not book well in advance, and the airlines had limited seats available in sectors like Goa in the offer. But of course they managed to attract some non-essential travellers who benefited from these offers,” said Anup Kanuga, Director, Bhatija Travels, an offline travel agency.
“Due to intense cold in the north, not many people booked tickets under the schemes. Initially there was enthusiasm from travellers but it fizzled out once they realised that fares were non-refundable and the offers were marketing gimmicks. The response was not to the expectations of airlines,” said Iqbal Mulla, President, Travel Agents Association of India.
However, officials from online travel agencies had a completely different experience to share.
“We witnessed 400 per cent increase in bookings in the three days of offer. Every sector witnessed a rise in booking. To my assessment, the seat load factor during the travel period will go up by 20 percentage points due to the promotional offer. We witnessed largest amount of booking in IndiGo followed by Air India and SpiceJet. Jet Konnect had the least amount of bookings,” said Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com, a leading online travel portal.
Jet Airways did not respond to a query on the impact.
A SpiceJet spokesperson, without quantifying the number of tickets sold, said, “The response was excellent. The sale has also brought us lot of traffic to our website.”
IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet sell the most