Travel meta-search engine iXiGO.com has launched travel deals search in India, covering special offers, promotions and deals for flights, hotels and vacations from major travel sites across Airlines, Hotel Chains and vacation package sellers. Ixigo has also subsequently launched a deals newsletter for future promotions and limited-period discounts.

The deal search reminds me of a now defunct startup called TripMela, which was put up for auction on eBay, and Ixigo bought. Speaking with MediaNama, Ixigo CEO Aloke Bajpai said that what they acquired through TripMela was an existing database for the newsletter, and some knowhow from the search product. “TripMela contributed around 10% to the search product, which we re-did from scratch.”

But why would an Online Travel Agent (OTA) sign up with Ixigo for sharing deals, instead of offering it to its existing customers? Bajpai says that deals are usually available for a limited time affair – around 10 days in a month, and the challenge for an OTA is to get the word out fast enough. “A deals search engine is good for them, and it’s more a question of percentage of conversions of those sort of deals can we drive on their platform. The key thing here is time.” Ixigo gets paid on a lead generation basis, per booking, from the OTA and the suppliers (airlines). Ixigo says it is partnering currently with 15-16 websites, and a few hotel chains, and is looking to add more partners. In terms of hotels, they have Ginger and Lemon Tree hotels. Some OTA’s we noticed include Akbar Travels Online, Cleartrip, Expedia, Travelocity, Yatra and GoIbibo

From an OTA perspective, Bajpai adds, the challenge is their ability to push these deals to via XML or RSS feeds – not all are capable of doing this; in case of direct suppliers, it’s an issue of not being used to offering deals on their site, which will drive consumers to their site, unlike the OTAs, which routinely offer deals to customers.

An opportunity which Ixigo is eying in the travel deals space is the ability to surface tourism packages from offline travel agents and tour operators for comparison, for, say Bangkok or Singapore.

We’d heard a few months ago that Ixigo was looking for funding, but Bajpai says that the stopped looking around two months ago: “We’re three times in terms of traffic and revenue compared to what we were a year back. We’re profitable, and the urgency of raising money is not really there.”

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