The next 6 months will be an exciting time for Cleartip,
as they plan to launch apps for 3G, low-bandwidth apps and specifically
rendered browsers for various handsets. PKX Thomas, COO, Cleartrip.com
tells us more.
Cleartrip has gained immense popularity as a
budget-friendly travel website. However, Cleartrip mobile is still in infancy
stage. Please shed some light on this.
Right from the very beginning when Cleartrip was founded,
we had a ‘search’ button for the mobile – this was to see if people were
actually searching from the mobile. However, from June 2010 we started
Cleartrip Mobile, a browser-based site – which was a separate user interface
dedicated to mobile space, with features different from that of the regular
website. Today we have 5,000 mobile visitors per day.
What are some of these unique apps for the
We started a smart app on the Nokia Ovi store four days
ago, which once loaded grabs static from the site and so uses very low
Our site can be enabled for HTML 4 and 5, depending on
the handset. HTML 4 can book only with OTP – this was not very successful, as
most banks do not have OTP-friendly websites. In HTML 5 and Opera browser – VBV
transaction is also possible, which is a much faster method of mobile booking.
In HTML 5, one can save credit card details on your
mobile phone to speed up transactions – so for that we have started a service
called ‘Express Checkout’, which was started after the iPhone was released last
year. Using this service, personal details once saved appear automatically for
future bookings, so the entire transaction takes just a few seconds. This
feature is not available on our regular Cleartrip website.
Our Bookmark App can bookmark the Cleartrip website on
Cleartrip also has a ‘launcher’ app to launch the browser
based on the kind of handset. For example, we have one especially for the
BlackBerry, iPhone, Android. For other handsets also, the site gets rendered
differently – so that a different browser is launched and the page is cached,
making the second time downloading very fast. We are improvising on this
further and the BlackBerry OS 5 – once Java-enabled will allow full access to
all features available on the main website as well. Next quarter we are also
coming out with another BlackBerry app.
Do you have any apps planned for 3G?
Our ‘Small World’ app – a unique travel search tool
through which users can search by destination and get a comprehensive and
complete overview for all types of travelers on a single page, is a
content-rich site, which is ideal for 3G-enabled smartphones. We are also
looking at something exclusively for 3G – like portals with images of hotels,
which will be available from the next quarter. We also plan to launch maps for
the mobile website later, which will work best with 3G.
With mobile broadband catching up, do you see
Cleartrip mobile overtaking the original Cleartrip website?
Today we have more than 5,000 people searching on
Cleartrip mobile per day, but over 30 million visitors per month on the
original website. The mobile has a good conversion rate, however, the mobile
website is for a different set of people, and is an added feature. It doesn’t sabotage
the original website or the Cleartrip Mobile.
What are your future plans for Cleartrip
Hotels and international flights will soon be viewable on
Cleartrip Mobile in 1-2 months, just as is available on the normal website (as
of now only domestic flights and trains can be booked on the mobile). We are
also planning to launch a few more apps for various mobiles – using very little
data and low bandwidth. In one month, we will have an Android app for Android
2.0, iPhone, BB OS 6 and higher OS. Most of the above apps are in the last leg
of testing right now.
Besides this, we are also looking at a co-branded site or
app, and we have partners working with our API’s to launch this, which will be
unique to Cleartrip. This means that handset manufacturers will have the
Cleartrip app embedded in the handset which will be available in low-cost
handsets. We are in the discussion stage for this right now, and this should be
out in the market in less than 6 months. Some phone manufacturers are also
taking our mobile APIs and starting their own transactions – as our API is very
By Beryl M