AMA Notes: “Tons of pain points still worth solving in travel.” [With Aloke Bajpai of Ixigo]

NextBigWhat’s Wednesday AMAs are now something that a lot of you in the product and growth community look forward to, and we do our best to get the top minds who can answer your queries and share their wisdom.

Last week, we had New York Times bestselling author and Founder & CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried who shared his take on productivity, building products and much more.

In this week’s AMA, we had the co-founder and CEO of one of the most well-known names in the travel sector in India – Aloke Bajpai of Ixigo. As someone behind an incredibly efficient startup, Aloke was able to provide lots of useful advice.

Aloke Bajpai: AMA @ NextBigWhat

The NextBigWhat AMA is supported by the awesome team @GOJEK. GOJEK is hiring great engineers and product leaders for its India offices (checkout the openings here).

Here are a few excerpts from the AMA:

How do you guys measure the success of your content marketing teams?

We don’t have a budget for our content marketing team. Most of our videos were made with very little spend – we rent most of our equipment, and most of the actors in our videos are ixigems. Viral videos are an output of a culture of experimentation and understanding the pulse of your audience and what they are likely to share. We measure success by how much our videos get talked about and shared. [Read More]

In a highly competitive market like OTAs, how did you go about identifying your differentiator?

We started out as a meta-search, comparing OTAs with one another and airline site fares. Over time we became a marketplace, and now, considering our scale and reach among next billion users, for many of our business lines we are the merchant / OTA. Our differentiation has been to always start with innovations that saved time/money and anxiety for travelers without trying to sell them something. Turns out once that trust is built, they will buy from you as well. [Read More]

What does ‘Building For Bharat’ (as espoused by Rajnish) entail today for ixigo and what should it mean for startups in general? Considering that many of the technological shackles that held the ecosystem back have been either removed or are on the verge of removal.

Building for Bharat is about understanding the needs of someone from Etawah and Neyveli as effectively as the ones for Delhi and Bengaluru. It is about understanding the pain points of a first time internet user with a Jio device. It is about connecting with someone who doesnt write / speak in English, or even Hindi. So technology can play a big role by localizing and simplifying the user experience, but there is also a psychographical understanding that needs to be developed for this market. [Read More]

How has your understanding of PMF evolved over the last few years ?

Most of our successful products created or opened up new markets and so PMF discovery was harder for us. What we found is PMF is not static, and that is a huge advantage for nimble startups who can iterate fast. Once you find it, you need to constantly evolve to maintain it, because the market discovers and moves rapidly to the best product or offering. [Read More]

Are there any pain points in travel that you still feel are inadequately addressed and which excite you to solve?

Tons of them. Despite being the industry that kick-started e-commerce in most countries and considered a “mature” internet industry by many, there are glaring big gaps and voids in the industry even today. Every moment of anxiety in a traveler’s life from inspiration to planning to research to booking to in-trip experience to sharing is up for disruption even today. [Read More]

Being capital efficient: How do you define that within your team? How do you measure that ? How does one build a culture around it?

Doing more with less, and keeping an eye on cash. We have a daily P&L sheet to keep track of how much money we made or lost in the business every single day. Our marketing budgets are derived from a % of revenue we want to invest back into growth, and more dependent on LTV/CAC achieved than having fixed budgets. We do a lot of barter deals even at scale. Our hiring process is a non-scalable one with founders still doing last rounds so we end up hiring fewer people every year, and we think hard before throwing people at problems. [Read More]

[Read the rest here]

If you are getting into Product Management, do apply for the upcoming cohort of NextBigWhat’s Product Management Course.

Aside, the next AMA is scheduled for Wednesday — go ahead and join the community of DOERs and stay

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