Online travel agent Expedia India has signed a strategic partnership with the online bus ticket booking portal redBus.in to offer bus ticket booking service on its website. Through this partnership, Expedia said that it will get access to bus seat inventory across more than 180,000 bus services operated by 900 operators across the country, while redBus will power the bus ticketing functionality on the portal.
It’s worth noting that redBus also offers a ‘Software as a Service’ product for bus operators called BOSS (Bus Operator Software Services), which allows bus operators to manage their inventory in real time as well as manage bus schedules, allocate seats to specific agents or branch offices, manage ticket pricing on the service, route and date level and offer online booking on their website through their own payment gateway.
When we checked, Expedia India was offering bus ticket booking through a dedicated section on its portal and the ticket booking interface is quite similar to the redBus.in ticket booking interface. While Expedia manages the ticket booking, the payment is processed by redBus through its partner payment gateway, CCAvenue.
Expedia-Cleartrip Deal: In a related development, Expedia India may renegotiate its contract with the online travel booking site Cleartrip, since it no longer needs access to Cleartrip’s low cost airline inventory, reports Livemint. According to the report, the company now plans to offer its own low-cost airline inventory by directly partnering with low-cost carriers.
In an interview to the publication, Vikram Malhi, country head of Expedia India said that they initially partnered with Cleartrip to offer airline inventory, since it wasn’t possible for them to have a direct inventory when they entered India. However, as they increase their marketing and brand spend, they now feel the need to have more control on the inventory to offer better pricing on travel packages. That being said, Malhi said that they haven’t decided the renegotiation terms yet since the contract is in place till the end of this year and they do intend to offer a few air-related services from Cleartrip.
Interestingly, Malhi also said during the interview that the company is currently in talks with IRCTC and private bus operators for train and bus reservations. So we wonder if Expedia will renegotiate their contract with redBus once the company is in a position to launch its own bus booking service.
The development also possibly indicates Expedia’s market strategy in India. The company initially partners with a well-known player in the market like Cleartrip in the airline segment and redBus in the bus segment to offer travel booking services, until it is in a position to offer direct inventory to consumers and compete with its own partners.