Beginning its journey in the US travel market, MakeMyTrip has emerged as a preferred choice of millions of travelers across the world. In an interaction, Anand Kandadai, Sr VP, Sales & Distribution, MakeMyTrip shares expansion plans of the brand.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Tell us about the origin and concept of MakeMyTrip (MMT).
Anand Kandadai (AK): MakeMyTrip.com, India’s leading online travel company was founded in the year 2000 by Deep Kalra. The company began its journey in the US-India travel market. After consolidating its position in the market as a brand recognised for its reliability and transparency in the US, the company launched its India operations in 2005. With the foresight to seize the opportunities in the domestic travel market, brought on by a slew of new airlines, MakeMyTrip offered travellers the convenience of online travel bookings at rock-bottom prices. Rapidly, we became the preferred choice of millions of travellers who were delighted to be empowered by a few mouse clicks!
NB: What is the USP of MMT?
AK: We proactively began to diversify its product offering, adding a variety of online and offline products and services. Today, MakeMyTrip is much more than just a travel portal or a famous pioneering brand - it is a one-stop-travel -shop that offers the broadest selection of travel products and services in India. It is the undisputed online leader, with its share of the travel market extending to more than 50 per cent of all online sales.
NB: What were the motivating factors for opting franchise expansion model?
AK: Travel segment for domestic and international holidays is growing at a rapid pace in the Indian context. Opting for franchise gave us more opportunities to partner with entrepreneurs who not only can manage businesses but also give us access to key markets in the Indian geography. While this model brings with a mutually beneficial or profit sharing equation our primary focus was and still is to get talent on board.
NB: What is the product portfolio of the brand?
AK: The MakeMyTrip’s products include international and domestic air tickets, holiday packages and hotels, domestic bus and rail tickets, private car and taxi rentals, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) and B2B and affiliate services.
NB: Share your current presence. What are your expansion plans in India in coming years?
AK: MMT has dedicated 24x7 customer support and offices in 20 cities across India and two international offices in New York and San Francisco (in addition to several franchise locations). We have 27 franchise stores in India and 21 company owned stores. We have plans to take the count to 100 stores in India by the end next calendar year.
NB: How do you propose to compete with other travel brands?
AK: International travel brands operate in a hybrid environment as they enjoy a market space that is online and offline. We have not yet encountered any strong competition. MakeMyTrip’s offers a diverse set of products to their customers. Our services cover retail, flight and hotel. The holiday options are vast. We have holiday packages available for individual, couple and groups. We even offer chartered holidays to our customers. Beyond this, we have a strong stamp in the market where our quality of services is largely recognised.
NB: What is the capital and area requirement from franchisee’s end?
AK: The capital requirement is between Rs 10 to 15 lakh and area requirement is about 400 to 600 sq. ft (carpet area) in a prime commercial space.
NB: How lucrative is the business opportunity for franchisees?
AK: The business opportunity is very lucrative as the industry itself is one of the fastest growing industries in the country and with that MMT as a brand is also one of the most reputed travel companies in India and abroad. Our wide product offering and the aggressive strategies makes it a win-win situation for both MMT and the franchisee.