What kind of growth are you witnessing here?
We have seen high double-digit growth in India, driven by online channels. Small retailers are seeing a decline. These small players will struggle to find growth unless they get ready to specialise in one area. The situation is pushing these retailers to become specialists in events, wedding, religious travel and so on.
How big is the India set up?
We have about 700 people in distribution working with the Bird Group. Our Bengaluru engineering centre, which is the second biggest for us globally, has a team of 1,700 working on global solutions. The access to talent here is unique, not just from an engineering point of view but also in business management. India is one of the places where we will continue to invest.
What is the untapped potential here?
The potential for growth is strong for years to come. More and more people here are seeing their disposable income increase, which is turning them into leisure travellers. We can already see this happening. India saw a growth of eleven per cent in domestic air travel, which is very healthy when compared to other economies. There are a lot of opportunities for international travel to grow. However, for some time, this will be dependent on how infrastructure develops. We have many airlines expanding capacity. At this moment, the airport capacity is the limiting factor. On the inbound side, India has less than nine million international visitors. There is a potential for a lot more. More promotion and infrastructure is required on airports and hotels.
You also work with online travel agencies (OTAs). What do you do for them?
We have been a partner with players like MakeMyTrip and Yatra on the technology front. They use technology for content aggregation and we connect airlines with OTAs. Whenever a transaction is made, it mostly comes through us. The transaction is made on airline availability and prices that we aggregate. We deliver them the search technology that goes behind the content you see as options when you place a query.
What growth is visible beyond airlines and OTAs?
We see non-traditional travel actors in payments space or general online retailing, like the Amazons of the world, developing the travel component. In India, Paytm is an example. You will see others enter the space too. Traditional online retailers will move here. Travel is very interesting for many of them as it is very accessible for anyone who has online retailing experience. We see that mobile actors like chat sites are also becoming service providers. They realise that there is a good basis to build travel marketplace. A lot is happening in Asia, especially China. But you can be sure that India is not going to be left out of that.
How is your relationship with OTAs changing?
As consolidation happens, technology is an enabler or a disabler. As companies
come together, build synergies and bring together the engines to service consumers, having the right technologies become critical. As airlines build networks and alliances, it makes sense to use common technologies. That is what has made Amadeus successful. We were the first in the travel technology space to develop a platform that was to be used both by airlines and travel agencies.