Cleartrip marketing VP says they've 'perfected the art' of performance marketing as they look to drive Indian ROI

Cleartrip's VP Marketing: 'Cleartrip is focusing on performance marketing to drive ROI in India'

Bolstered by massive internet penetration in India and digital payments, Indian online travel company Cleartrip is focusing on performance marketing to cater to the Indian digital audience.

The Drum spoke with Ashish Dhruva, vice president marketing, Cleartrip who affirmed that Cleartrip is extremely bullish on the India market as digitalization is on the rise and the overall the number of people choosing to book their travel needs online is on a high growth trajectory.

He says: "We use media with a lot of discretion and map the plan based on the need and goal. The majority of our marketing spends is on performance marketing. We believe that over time we have perfected the art and have driven tremendous cost efficiency and built scale."

"The call of how we invest in marketing also depends on the stage of the product and the market. In Dubai, we placed the second highest hoarding in the world that gave us a mention in the Guinness Book of World records. Last year we had two large TV campaigns. This year we have used television to communicate a tactical but a promising travel offer. Picking the right channel as per the need has given us the desired impact on our business and proved highly efficient in terms of ROI."

India’s aviation market has seen a scintillating growth in the last few years. In 2016, India witnessed the highest growth of 23.3% in domestic air travel demand worldwide according to International Air Transport Association (IATA). According to another report by Capa, India is now the 3rd largest aviation market in domestic air passenger traffic.

Cleartrip aims to exploit this opportunity by "aligning its product, tech and marketing strategy" according to Dhruva.

With the rise of a digital economy, digital travel sales in India are set to touch the $22.52bn mark in 2017, according to eMarketer. The current government has also shown its interest in propelling the sector with a friendly GST structure for aviation and a regional connectivity focus. This has further boosted Cleartrip's marketing strategy to expand its function in India. It recently expanded its reach by tying up with Google Flights.

As to what was the strategy behind this partnership, Dhruva says: "Customers love Cleartrip for its products, and we have been working hard for the last few years to dramatically alter the reach, as we are confident that the product will take care of conversion and retention."

"In light of the results we have seen for some time now, we continue to place our bet on performance marketing and this tie-up with Google Flights helps Cleartrip come in the direct path of decision-making for contextual travel customers, furthering our objectives of building reach and efficiency."

Cleartrip also targeted millennials by its partnership with Indian coffee shops chain, Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) which helped them expand its reach and create brand awareness among the young audience.

Dhruva says: "The CCD audience was a perfect fit for local as it provided us the target group that is comfortable with lower spends ranging from INR 500 to 1500 on doing/gifting an activity or things to do for the weekend. We also saw a good uptake, in group queries as youth typically prefers to go out in sets of 5 to 6 people. Day outing, events and theme parks have been the key drivers in terms of interest and sales."

Cleartrip is also leveraging Amazon and Snapdeal as online distribution partners for its Gift Card. "Strategic online distribution and offline alliances have really helped us scale our Gift card business and helped it grow nearly two hundred percent in last two years," Dhruva added.

Cleartrip further plans to expand in the Middle East region by aggressively investing on product and marketing to push penetration in the UAE and Saudi market according to Dhruva.

He says: "MENA is going through a very interesting phase of growth of mobile consumers. In our recently release MENA mobile insights we observed that mobile bookings are growing at a rate of 155% and as much as 40% of the traffic in the region is coming to Cleartrip is from mobile already."

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