(Updated below)
Online Ticketing meta search Ixigo is powering NDTVtravels.com, the travel portal from NDTV Convergence. What’s interesting is that Ixigo is aggregating only the airlines – and on the Online Travel Agents like MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra, TravelGuru etc. In fact, NDTV is now positioning the Travel portal as an alternative to OTAs. According to the release –

“NDTV’s flight search, powered by iXiGO.com, will enable users to search lowest air fares in real-time across all airlines and airports in India, and book them directly on airline websites, effectively by-passing travel agencies and saving on booking fees charged by travel portals.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t meta searches like Ixigo and Zoomtra once also aggregate OTAs? What happened? Aggregation of fares from across OTAs would have allowed users to compare one OTA with another, or with rates from Airline sites – and simply choose the one with the lowest price. That wouldn’t have gone down well with the OTAs.

We’ve contacted Ixigo for details on why they aren’t scraping OTA sites, and on the deal with NDTV Travels. More as we have it.

Meanwhile, Meta Search engines like Ixigo and Zoomtra also have to contend with Kayak, among the most successful meta search engines in the world, having launched an India site.

Update: Aloke Bajpai, CEO of Ixigo responds to our questions regarding OTA relationships, and the monetization of the deal with NDTV Travels:

On NDTV Travels And Monetization
“As mentioned on our site, we do monetize referrals/bookings on airline sites. In fact, for most airlines, iXiGO contributes between 1 to 5% of their total online direct sales. We are generating a total transaction value (TTV) of over 9 Crores for our airline partners through iXiGO, and it’s increasing at a healthy double-digit growth rate despite the market environment. NDTV is a special affiliate relationship. We monetize together from ads, bookings, and other strategic business opportunities.”

On OTA Tie-ups, or lack of
This is due to declining agency commissions (and therefore OTA margins), coupled with the fact that the booking fees they charge consumers makes airline ticket booking on them more expensive most of the time (avg. price difference between OTAs and iXiGO is 200 Rs. per ticket). In such a scenario, having OTAs on iXiGO for the air business is not great from both of our perspectives. Finally, airlines are actually happier if we work exclusively with them and build their direct online sales traction. Makes iXiGO more valuable for them.

We are working with (or exploring working with) all OTAs for non-air business segments.

Related:

Ixigo Receives Undisclosed Amount Of Funding From BAF Partners
Cleartrip Launches Train Booking; Service Fee; 10-20% Topline Contribution
IRCTC Does $102 Million In Online Transactions In August; Payment Trends; HDFC, ICICI, Cash Cards Significant
Yatra Launches In US, UK; Impact Of Zero Percent Commissions
Yes, That’s Exactly What We Need – Another Player In The Travel Space