And why ClearTrip is supporting India’s offline travel agents and wants to stand by them?

Very recently, I covered how Indian OTAs are under a serious threat because of the vanishing commission from flight booking. It seems ClearTrip is realizing this fast and is now displaying following message on it’s site:

Cleartrip supports India’s offline travel agents and stands by them in their time of need.

Screenshot:

Aren’t these online portals ‘supposed’ to kill (in corporate speak: compete) with the offline players? I mean that was the entire premise behind bringing things online. Right?

Why this sudden love?

It’s expected that around 35,000 agents and sub-agents will be forced to shut shop (by October), because of commission erosion in flight bookings – so ClearTrip might want to partner with these agents and gain network/distributors (ClearTrip can sell packaged tours/international tickets/hotel bookings etc).

ClearTrip raised $18.75mn and has enough cash reserve to stay in the game (remember, they said “we raised more cash then we needed?”).

But the basic question is on the model itself – unlike matrimonial/job players that are banking on ‘information’, travel players are supposed to bank on new media’s low cost and high scale.

I have raised this question earlier and somehow, it doesn’t makes sense for an online player to go offline and play the same game, especially when online play’s core differentiation is to bring in dis-intermediation.

What’s your opinion?

The above pic was spotted by Saurabh and he sent an interesting message along – Supporting the very people who you are trying to oust from the market!

Your take?

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