IRCTC targeting 750000 bookings a day by 2015

Indian Railways Tourism and Catering Corporation, which runs Indian Railways’ online ticket reservation site has claimed that the portal makes 360,000 to 370,000 bookings at present, compared to 40,000 bookings in 2008. IRCTC is now targeting 750,000 bookings a day by 2015. To maintain its lead position in the domestic travel booking space, it wants to make the portal a one-stop shop for planning tours and introduce innovative facilities such as branded card and booking through SMS.

IRCTC is also taking seat blocks from airlines to be marketed and sold directly through its portal. “We will expand our airline ticket booking operations by offering corporate travel and also provide a complete package. This would be a major thrust area for us now,” said Rakesh Tandon, managing director, IRCTC.

The company owned by the Indian Railways became an agent of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2010. “Initially, when you enter a market, you tie up with the existing player or agency. Now, we are directly tying up with the airlines. We have already tied up with Air India and Jet Airways,” Tandon said.

The ticketing business constitutes 40 per cent to the company’s total revenue of Rs 550 crore. One of the major initiatives in reaching the goal would be to introduce booking through SMSes and rolling out deposit scheme for frequent travelers. With the scheme, IRCTC aims to reduce the payment time by half.

Currently, while booking tickets, payment transaction takes 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. According to Tandon, failure rate at the transaction stage is about 20-25 per cent. And in case of certain banks it is as high as 40 per cent due to lack of state-of-the-art arrangement with them.