Cleartrip has launched ‘price lock’ feature which will let its users lock a flight booking price for a fee if their booking is confirmed from the user’s end. The price lock feature will basically “protect” the user from flight price fluctuations and cancellation and amendment fees. When I tried to make a flight booking, Cleartrip set this fee at Rs 390 but it looks like this fee may vary with different factors like flight, booking, travel dates, number of passengers etc.
Price lock is available only on certain flights and can be used to lock the price for a few more days in which the users can confirm their booking. On choosing the lock fare option, the user has 2 choices: to pay before the lock expires or ignore the price lock and give up what you paid as the lock fee, saving the hassle of paying a cancellation charge etc since you haven’t yet paid for the booking.
Currently, price lock is not available for Expressway bookings and sale and promotional fares. It is obviously non transferable. Cleartrip says that the feature’s upper limit cover is up to Rs 7,500 per passenger over the locked fare. If the fare increases above this amount, it will have to be paid by the passenger. However, there’s a chance of that particular flight being sold out and Cleartrip will offer an alternative flight in case that happens in the lock period. If an alternative flight cannot be found, the company will refund the flight fare and up to 3x of the price lock fee.
Alternatively, Cleartrip has also launched a ‘pay at hotel’ feature for booking on the platform and paying at the hotel, and a ‘sleep promise’ where if a user’s hotel doesn’t turn out to be what they saw at the booking, Cleartrip will find another hotel suited to their needs.
MediaNama’s take: The price lock feature is very cool, given that flight prices keep fluctuating every day and sometimes even multiple times in the same day. We imagine this feature could be used heavily by corporates and businessmen whose travel plans may or may not be fixed, as well as a regular user. If the fee is restricted even up to Rs 1,000, it still works out cheaper than cancelling a flight which is not less than Rs 2,000 currently.
Multi-city flight booking: In April this year, Cleartrip launched multi-city flight booking on its mobile apps, allowing users to book up to 4 flights in the same booking.
Transaction size immaterial: For our #Outlook16 series, Cleartrip’s Subramanya Sharma told MediaNama that transaction size was of no consequence on the mobile channel (“people are very comfortable booking tickets that are upwards of Rs 20,000 as well – 40% of Cleartrip’s transactions are average size of above Rs 10,000.”) Sharma added that lower ticket sizes had very high correlation to quick adoption on mobile.