iXiGO Digital Marketing Strategy
Coming up with a concept that totally revolutionised travel planning, iXiGO has created a class and genre of its own within the world of apps. Being the first travel app, it has spawned a whole new generation of online hotel and travel booking aggregators and other similar products. But what of the brand that started it all? Two of our students, Shefali Shetty and Hasti Shah, designed a brand-new digital marketing strategy for the search engine in order to help it grow further. Let’s have a look!
Co-founded in 2006 by IIT Kanpur batchmates Aloke Bajpai (Chief Executive Officer) and Rajnish Kumar (Chief Technological Officer), it was able to break into the sphere of travel when there were several new airlines just coming up. Within the first 6 months, not only did they manage to raise half a million dollars in funding, but they also got an average of 200k unique visitors on their website per month.
With enough money to last them a year and a half, they decided to focus on slow and steady growth. However, a well-reputed investor offered them $5 million, and this was pretty much an irresistible deal. IXiGO decided to take them up on their offer and discussed a plan of action with them based on a wider budget due to the generous funding they were being given. After more than 4 months of having confirmed the offer and their ‘due diligence’ contract, the investors withdrew their offer. IXiGO ended up suffering from a serious shortage of money. Due to this, they had to resort to layoffs. The existing employees were given only half their salaries and the CEOs went by on no pay at all. The startup functioned like this for about 9 months, before MakeMyTrip and SAIF Partners invested $18.5 million in the firm.
Now, iXiGO has about 1.3 million unique visitors on their website per month and SAIF now has a 56.7% stake in the company whereas MakeMyTrip has a 20% stake. It has expanded to become a portal for travellers to aid them in planning their trip from the very beginning to end. Visitors to the website are given travel suggestions that help them decide where they want to go, and look for appropriate bookings related to transport and accommodation by aggregating various travel offers from different servers to look for the best deal for the customers.
Our students suggest a comprehensive 360 degree marketing strategy for the brand, which comprises of television commercials, social media, microsites, mobile apps, website optimisation, blogs and print media. Let’s get right into it.
iXiGO’s website is very user-friendly, colourful and attractive. Each page allows the customer to search for the required information. There are banners of upcoming offers all over the website, allowing the customers to get a value for money experience. The USP and trending travel information is also provided on the website itself. The user interface is clean, with easy navigation. It is designed to ensure that the customer fully enjoys his or her experience with the iXiGO website and keeps coming back.
Content Marketing Strategy (Blogs)
One way to engage your customers and ensure that they stay on your brand’s website for a longer duration of time is to provide them with interesting blogs to browse through. This is vital aspect of any content marketing strategy!
You can solo travel! Sejal Kumar tells you how and CRAZIEST Travel Experiences are a few examples of articles that the brand could create to ensure that website visitors spend more time with iXiGO online!
An example of listicles that iXiGO could post on their blog could be Santoshi Shetty’s Tips to Inspire Your Next Trip to Koh Samui or Why Bali is the Best Budget Destination for Couples. Listicles are extremely entertaining and captivate the reader’s attention, and at the same time subtly encourage the reader to travel to said destinations and take iXiGO’s help in doing so. In this case, the readers get to know travel destinations that aren’t as popular thanks to iXiGO’s comprehensive guide!
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation refers to the usage of particular keywords in order to ensure the maximum amount of traffic on a brand’s website. These keywords are those that have the highest search rates on Google from their target customers. If a website is able to optimise itself based on the search engine’s keywords, then it is certain that they will be able to reach the maximum amount of relevant people.
Some of the most popular keywords for iXiGO are compare and book taxi, compare and book the cheapest cabs and travel information to plan a perfect trip in India. This means that whenever someone searches for these terms online, iXiGO’s results are some of the first that pop up.
Often, brands bid on certain search terms to ensure that when users search these particular terms on the internet, the particular brand’s page pops up as one of the first results. This may be useful for OYO in reference to other words that it could really capitalise on if they were able to be one of the top results.
Some of the suggested bid words for iXiGO are cheap air flight tickets, international honeymoon packages and best travel websites in India. This ensures that when someone searches for the said terms online, they are bound to encounter iXiGO’s website as one of the first results. This makes the website more accessible to the people looking to compare options from different travel websites, which is ultimately the group of people iXiGO wants most to reach out to. This greatly boosted their online presence and was a vital part of iXiGO Digital Marketing Strategy
iXiGO is positioned to cater to those aged between 21-45 of all genders. These people are usually placed in large metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Pune who belong to the middle- and upper middle-class groups of society.
Social Media Strategy
One of the key factors towards the success of any business these days, especially travel businesses, is social media. And iXiGO, in the space of only 14 years, has already learned this. They have 16k likes on Facebook, 27k followers on Instagram and 8k followers on Twitter. Some social media campaigns that they can carry out in order to further increase their following are #LetsGetFictional on Twitter, where the followers are asked to tweet about the city of their dreams. They are asked to write about it and tag the friends they want to travel to that place with. As a reward for this, the most creative answers would win a gift hamper by iXiGO.
#PackToGoBack is an Instagram campaign that would ask iXiGO’s Instagram followers to share a memorable travel photo at a place that they have visited and would like to go back to. Most importantly, they must tag iXiGO. If they are selected, they can win 2 tickets to the place that they have mentioned in their post. This greatly boosted their social media presence and was a vital part of iXiGO Digital Marketing Strategy
A Facebook campaign that iXiGO could focus on is #KnowYourGesture in which they post creatives enlisting the different meanings of gestures in various countries. This can serve as an educational/informative post regarding what to do and what not to do when in a foreign country.
The main competitor of iXiGO is Expedia, an American global travel technological company. It owns several websites like Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Hotwire.com. Expedia is at an international level, while iXiGO, based in Gurgaon, is still playing on a national field.
Expedia has 67k likes on their Facebook page, 182k followers on their Instagram page and 5k followers on their Twitter page. They have an excellent engagement rate on all three platforms, and even put up YouTube videos. YouTube is a social media platform that iXiGO is completely absent from. Some of Expedia’s outstanding social media campaigns have been #MatchMadeInHeaven. In an interface similar to the dating app, Tinder, it allows users to identify their perfect travel destination by swiping left or right. It was a fun way to engage with followers and was launched on Twitter. Another interesting campaign they launched was called #ExpediaChat. This was a brand building contest held on Twitter that revolved around Expedia asking questions to its followers and having them answer it in an engaging manner.