“I’m not as worried about our competitors as I am about changing consumer behavior,” says Sandeep Murthy, Cleartrip chairman. “It is not so much about the next guy. It’s about moving people into the world of automated online management of their travel services.”
Murthy spoke about the investment and operational partnership with Concur and how he views the market potential.
India has a $13 billion corporate travel market and 90% of it is unmanaged, Murthy says, and it is primed to get much larger.
Today, Cleartrip for Business accounts for less than 10% of the online travel agency’s revenue and Murthy feels that with Concur’s travel and expense prowess, the two can build a comprehensive and integrated offering to tap into the expanding corporate travel market.
Asked for specifics on that integration, Murthy cautions, “we’re only a week into it [the partnership]. It’s too early to say what is realistic and what the timeframe is.”
He adds that the focus is on “how do we scale up for the long term? How do we put the building blocks in place?”
Officials from Concur and Cleartrip began talking about this partnership more than a year ago and Concur was a logical partner, Murthy says.
“We don’t have it all,” Murthy says. “Tracking and reporting, that is not our world.”
While Concur and Cleartrip will focus on distribution through the corporate channel, and hiring sales and distribution personnel in India initially, it’s clear that the Cleartrip-Concur alliance is not just about India.
Cleartrip already has an office in Dubai and plans to expand into Southeast Asia and the Middle East, moving in “a circular radius” as India’s domestic airlines grow their routes, Murthy says.
Mobile also fits prominently into development plans, Murthy says, and the two companies may integrate their solutions, including Concur’s TripIt itinerary management service.
“I have my wish list,” Murthy says.
He adds: “We’re just scratching the surface of what is possible.”
With the Concur minority investment in Cleartrip, Steve Singh, Concur’s chairman and CEO, takes a seat on the Cleartrip board.
Murthy says the two companies will evaluate the size of Concur’s stake over time and enlarging it would be an option.
Concur, which opened an office in India, “has been on an expansion spree,” Murthy says — and it appears to have found a partner with similar ambitions.