Yatra CEO Dhruv Shringi discusses industry trends & future outlook at ET Travel Conclave, ET TravelWorld

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Dhruv Shringi, Co-Founder & CEO of Yatra Online, engaged in a fireside chat at the 2nd ET Travel & Tourism Annual Conclave & Awards, offering insights into the evolution of Yatra’s platform, the impact of technology, and the future of the travel industry.

He was speaking during a fireside chat interaction with ETTravelWorld on the topic: Online travel agencies – Achieving growth during disruptions.

Shringi outlined Yatra’s continuous product evolution, emphasising the strategy of adding more products to the platform. He highlighted the low marginal cost of selling additional products once the platform is in place, with a focus on a deeper and wider product portfolio. This includes cross-selling of services such as insurance, attractions, and car rentals. Shringi underlined the importance of both technology-enabled and manually interfaced products in this evolution.

AI and its impact on the industry:
Shringi delved into the multi-layered impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the travel industry. He discussed the positive and negative repercussions for employers, customers, and employees. From an employer’s perspective, AI can reduce service costs significantly, creating a cost advantage. However, customers need to be aware that their data is being used to provide customized responses. Shringi also highlighted the changing skill sets required for employees in the era of automation.

Addressing future innovations, Shringi envisioned concierge apps transforming the industry. He discussed a utopian scenario where users could simply instruct their devices to plan a trip, and the app would provide options, eliminating the need for manual intervention. He emphasised the potential for such innovations to disrupt the industry significantly.

Corporate travel and technology adoption
Shringi further shed light on Yatra’s focus on corporate travel, positioning it as the bedrock of the organisation. He highlighted the increased adoption of technology solutions by companies, driven by the need for scalable and automated business processes. He predicted a decade of integrated technology focus in contrast to the previous decade’s consumer-focused technology adoption.

“So, companies are adopting technology at a pace which has not been seen in the past decade. The last decade, as I said was more consumer focused in the next decade will be more integrated focus,” he said.

Discussing partnerships, Shringi emphasised the importance of collaboration to drive business growth. He cited examples of partnerships with destinations like Saudi Arabia and technology partnerships with companies like Nirvana in Abu Dhabi. Shringi advocated for organisations to play to their strengths and partner with others to create a marketplace-like environment.

“Right so the partnerships I personally feel are a great way of growing the business. So, because you can’t really do everything yourself. At least you know, you can do it yourself and do a good job. That’s what I feel I feel it’s better to focus on one or two core areas where you’ve got to make a lot of skill and in-depth expertise, and then partner with the others who focus on certain other areas and make it a platform like a marketplace in that sense,” Shringi said.

Industry overview: Thomas Cook India's Madhavan Menon discusses travel industry's resilience & future prospects

Regarding domestic tourism, Madhavan Menon emphasised the growth across various forms, including road transport, cruises, and resorts. He noted the success of cruises, citing a significant increase in people driving to resorts. Menon highlighted that new destinations, including Kashmir and the Northeast, are witnessing increased tourism due to improved accessibility.

Consumer booking trends
Shringi shared observations on changing consumer booking trends, particularly in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. He highlighted the prevalence of mobile devices as the primary channel for consumers in these markets. Shringi anticipated a shift towards simpler transactions being conducted on mobile devices, while acknowledging the ongoing challenges related to payments, confidence in international travel, and visa processes.

Shringi commended the Indian government’s significant investment in infrastructure, especially in the travel sector. He noted the substantial capacity expansion in aviation, attributing it to government spending on infrastructure projects. Shringi expressed optimism about the sector’s growth and capacity building, fueled by government initiatives.

The Yatra CEO’s insights and interaction at the 2nd edition of ET Travel & Tourism Conclave & Awards on November 30 in New Delhi provided a comprehensive view of Yatra’s strategic direction, the transformative impact of technology, and the dynamic landscape of the travel industry.

  • Published On Dec 6, 2023 at 06:43 PM IST

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