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Did you know? redBus has added a hotels section

logo-redbusNaspers owned redBus has added a hotel booking section to its website, that is very similar to the ones offered by flight ticket booking websites. (Hat tip: Chetan S).

The service is still in beta, but it’s not clear if the company has created its own database or if it is using the details from its sister company goIbibo. Unlike air ticket booking websites though, hotel booking is not being shoved down your face (yet?).

The service lets you filter hotels by location, number of beds and location, but it does not offer you an option to narrow down the list on the basis of facilities provided by these hotels. It is possible that the company will add these features down the line, since it is in beta right now.

Why add a hotels section?: Air ticket booking websites generally have hotel booking as well since the margins are higher for the latter. For example, in the case of MakeMyTrip 38.4% of its revenues came from hotel bookings in Q3-FY14.

In Medianama’s Outlook14 report on what travel companies plan to do this year, Aloke Bajpai of iXigo had said that the focus is shifting to hotels and packages to drive revenue growth and profitability. He also said that there is an opportunity to aggregate fragmented non-hotel inventory and improve the experience at the below Rs 2000 per room-night market — the same market who might also be traveling by bus.

Competition: redBus.in which was acquired by Ibibo Group in June 2013 for $101 million currently dominates the online bus booking segment in India, although Bangalore-based busIndia.com claims to be at least twice as bigger as redBus.in. It also competes against services such as AbhiBus and TicketGoose. These companies have been till now concentrating on getting more bus operators to sign up with them. However redBus seems to have shifted focus on improving experience of end users. ibiboGroup had acquired bus tracking service YourBus earlier this year that will alert travelers about the actual location of a bus they need to board.

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AbhiBus meanwhile seems to be concentrating on integrating its bus ticketing with other services. It had recently tied-up with JustRechargeIt to offer bus ticket booking for over 1,500 operators and 15,000 routes. redBus and Travelyaari had partnered with Cleartrip to offer a bus ticketing service, while AbhiBus has deals with Goibibo and Yatra. MakeMyTrip had acquired book ticketing site Ticketwala in 2010. The Government of India had launched BusIndia.com as India’s first integrated national transport portal on October 31, 2013 through what appears to be a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with Radiant Info Systems.

Corrigendum: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that the service does not let you filter search by star rating.

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