Achieving 2.5m+ monthly active users, ixigo's Aloke Bajpai shares insights on content and apps

0 is a prominent travel planning and search engine that was founded back in 2006. Based out of Gurgaon, the company has received funding to the tune of $18.5 million from SAIF Partners and MakeMyTrip. ixigo plays mainly in the planning and in-destination content space within the huge travel space.

Moving aggressively in the content and apps space, the company has recently announced a major revamp of its trip planner product and it also registered 900k monthly active users across the five apps (2.5 million+ for mobile+web).

YourStory got in touch with CEO and Co-founder Aloke Bajpai to explore the space.

Aloke Bajpai (3rd from the left) during one of ixigo's events

YS: 175,000 reviews and over 23,000 ratings of places. What has your experience been around the quality of this content?

AB: Online reviews have gained prominence in the last few years. People now majorly rely on online ratings and reviews before they select a hotel or plan their trip. The quality of the content for online reviews in the travel industry has improved a great deal with travellers willing to share their experiences for the benefit of fellow travellers. Also apart from reviews, people are contributing photos and new places to our site.

YS: Can you throw more light on how the revenue model for ixigo is evolving?

AB: We work with all the leading travel sites (online travel agencies), airlines, hotel brands, hotel aggregators, bus ticketing sites etc. in the country. We have more travel inventory than any other travel site in India (since we aggregate almost everyone). We earn by generating qualified leads to these travel sites as well as through display and contextual advertising from a large set of advertisers (from FMCG to automobile brands to tours / packages sellers). Our mobile apps are ad-free and we have a minimal number of ad slots on pages since we are very sensitive about user experience and page load times.

Over the last couple of years, the share of advertising revenue (in comparison to referral / lead-generation revenue) has increased owing to increased interest and budgets from advertisers.

YS: What has been the key learning having built five apps with over 2.5 million downloads?

AB: Our most important learning has been that apps that solve specific travel information use cases work better than one bundled app, since it gives product developers more agility and product marketers more focus. Thus our transportation apps like ixigo trains and buses, as well as our PNR tracking app have been the most successful apps for us since their user-base is contributing to strong word of mouth growth. We now have more than 900K active monthly users across our apps.

YS: With apps, what are the metrics you track?

AB: Some of the key metrics we track on our apps include - uninstall rate, number of sessions per day, active users per day session duration and monthly repeat usage rates.

YS: What percent of traffic is mobile now?  

AB: Nearly 50 % of our overall traffic is now from mobile.

YS: Where do you see ixigo in a year's time? 

AB: We expect to become the # 1 mobile travel company in India, and we expect to become #1 in the blue-ocean category of travel research and planning for Indian consumers.

We’re betting big on mobile for building mass adoption and brand awareness; our mobile apps are contributing to the 2x year on year growth for us, and we believe this will only accelerate further. We are one of the top app developers in the travel category by share of traffic and downloads (five out of the top 100 travel apps in India are ixigo apps). On the web we have over two million unique visitors every month. In a year from now, we anticipate our mobile and tablet users to grow to 70%+ of our user base.

To emerge as the clear market leader in our category, we're aiming for over five million monthly unique active users a year from now.