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Rail OTA Leader IXIGO Aims Higher With Strategic Expansion Plans

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Rail OTA Leader IXIGO Aims Higher With Strategic Expansion Plans

Remember when booking train tickets meant endless queues and frantic phone calls? Those days are behind us thanks to innovative travel booking platforms like Ixigo.

But Ixigo’s journey hasn’t been your typical “startup to unicorn” story. Their unconventional path led the company to become a dominant player in the Indian travel booking scene.

Unconventional Ideas

Ixigo started in 2007, before the era of smartphones and instant gratification. While everyone else was chasing the glamor of flights and hotels, Ixigo bet on the humble Indian railway system and dared to focus on a niche market: train ticketing. This unique approach might have seemed risky, but it was a stroke of genius.

Here’s why: trains are the lifeline of India, not only transporting millions of people and tons of goods but connecting far-flung villages to bustling cities like a thread that binds. Ixigo understood this profoundly and built a platform that catered explicitly to train travelers’ needs, from a user-friendly interface and real-time train tracking to comprehensive information on fares and schedules. 

Their advanced technology (Ixigo) surpasses IRCTC’s waitlist predictor and addresses common concerns such as platform details and PNR confirmation. This focus on user experience and keen understanding of the train travel market paid off big time. 

Facing the Challenge

Established players like MakeMyTrip and Yatra had their sights set on Ixigo’s turf. Like a flexible train navigating sharp turns, Ixigo focused on what it does best – used its train expertise to become the ultimate rail companion, building trust and a loyal user base of over 100 million. 

They gamified the booking process, transforming ticket hunts into treasure hunts, and even launched features like “Train Tales,” a platform for travelers to share their railway adventures. Ixigo’s focus on practicality and enjoyment helped them stay ahead, even while more prominent companies struggled. 


How Ixigo Turned Pandemic into Its Playground

The pandemic undoubtedly brought a screeching halt to travel, and Ixigo, heavily reliant on train bookings, faced a significant roadblock. But this is where their adaptability shines again. They shifted swiftly, expanding into bus bookings and domestic flights, capitalizing on the surge in staycations and short getaways. They didn’t just diversify; they innovated. 

Products like “ixigo assured” and “ixigo flex” addressed traveler’s concerns about flight delays and cancellations, offering flexibility and peace of mind. The pandemic, a nightmare for many, became a hidden blessing for Ixigo, pushing them to diversify and strengthen their wings, leading to a 50% increase in non-rail bookings by 2023.

Fueling the Future

With travel roaring back stronger than ever, Ixigo isn’t just surviving; it’s thriving. They’ve secured a strategic partnership with IRCTC, the official ticketing arm of Indian Railways, allowing them to power hotel bookings exclusively for IRCTC users. This collaboration opens a massive new market, bringing Ixigo’s vast inventory of hotels and vacation rentals to over 250 million IRCTC users. 

With key partnerships, international goals, and now venturing into accommodations, Ixigo signals a revolution in not just the travel industry. Get ready for changes on land, in the sky, and perhaps even in cozy beds.

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I’m Archana R. Chettiar, an experienced content creator with
an affinity for writing on personal finance and other financial content. I
love to write on equity investing, retirement, managing money, and more.

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