The flight search volume on Paytm Travel in the last few days has been trending at close to 200% of the average daily search volume witnessed before the lockdown began in March. Since the bookings opened up, there has been over 85 lakh searches for flight tickets with a surge in demand happening over the weekend. The searches hit a peak of 1.77 lakh requests per hour during the last three days.
Due to the last three consecutive lockdowns, several travellers had to stay back in metro cities mainly New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru which they might have visited for some work. They are now taking this opportunity to book a flight back to their home towns in non-metro cities including Patna, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Guwahati, among others. Few of the sectors such as Delhi-Patna, Mumbai-Varanasi, Bengaluru-Guwahati are witnessing unusually high demand as compared to typical busy routes like Delhi-Mumbai and Bangalore-Delhi. Paytm Travel is working closely with all airlines and also keeping abreast with all the guidelines of the aviation ministry as well as rules being laid out by the various state governments to ensure that passengers are able to return home safely.
Abhishek Rajan, Senior Vice President - Paytm Travel, "There is a pent up demand for non-metro destinations from metro cities. Eager flyers are booking tickets to go back home. This has led to a jump in searches and ticket bookings on our platform. While there is a surge in demand, we think it will taper down with time."
Paytm Travel over the last several weeks has taken a number of steps to help travellers who had booked tickets but were not able to fly due to the ongoing lockdown. It was among the firsts to provide the ability to its users to view and use their credit shell refund balance on Paytm for booking any new flight of their choice. Travellers who had booked tickets for these suspended flights were issued a refund by the airlines in the form of a credit shell balance of an amount equal to the cancelled flight ticket value. Users can redeem this balance for booking a flight ticket on the same airline for any future journey date in the next 12 months.
Paytm Travel is India’s first horizontal major to enter online travel and has been a pioneer in launching innovative features for flight, bus and train travellers. The company has already launched a free cancellation service that allows users to cancel their travel tickets without requiring to pay any cancellation charges. Other popular features include Live Train Tracking and Voice Search that was rolled out to make train ticket booking, seamless experience for users.