Google Flights has partnered with Indian airline ticketing site Cleartrip to expand its footprint in the country, according to reports. This is Google‘s fourth such partnership in India after it tied up with airline operators Jet Airways and Vistara along with travel portal Via.com since the application’s launch in India in 2015. Google Flights is a meta-search engine that throws up flight listings from airline operators as well as online travel portals, and allows customers to transact.
“For Google… this partnership with Cleartrip is important as it helps expand our offering, and provides consumers with another way to conveniently plan and book their travel,” Vikas Agnihotri, industry director, Google India, reportedly said. For Cleatrip, on the other hand, Google gives its listings preference over that of its competitors that include MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and so on. It will also the company to retail customer data, and allow it to throw up results based on their booking patterns. “The partnership would allow the Cleartrip flight inventory and prices to be visible on the Google platform,” a company official was quoted as saying. ALSO READ: Google Flights’ latest update will help you find the cheapest tickets
The Google Flights-Cleartrip partnership comes at a time when India’s online ticketing industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Last October, market leader MakeMyTrip and rival GoIbibo merged to create the biggest player in the space. Paytm, India’s largest mobile wallet provider, has a thriving ticketing business that plans to sell 10 million monthly tickets across flight, bus and train travel. Much of Paytm’s flight bookings are driven by attractive offers and cashbacks. There’s also government-backed IRCTC which along with traditional rail tickets also operates a flight booking app called IRCTC Air. Surely this is a cluttered market. ALSO READ: Paytm to now focus on travel, hotels and movie ticketing with multiple offers and discounts
However, the online air travel market in India is growing at 15 percent every year and is projected to grow to $30 billion by 2020 growing, according to a Google-BCG report. With an increase in the penetration of smartphones and digital payments apps, more users are now comfortable booking their flights online. “There are several actionable insights for domestic online travel players including the role of mobile and the level of curation and personalization that Indian travelers are looking for,” Google India’s Agnihotri stated in the report.