Industry POV

MakeMyTrip highlights Pay at Checkout feature in new campaign - Rajiv Dingra


MakeMyTrip’s new Pay at Checkout feature is currently available across 7, 500 domestic hotels, 18% of these are 4-5 star, 37% are 3-star hotels and 45% are 1-2 star, budget category hotels

New Delhi: Online travel agency MakeMyTrip has rolled out its third television campaign (Watch here ) aimed at driving hotel bookings on its platform. Made by advertising agency Publicis Capital, the commercial features actors Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh who are seen promoting the new Pay at Checkout feature on hotel bookings.

The spot opens at a wedding venue where a flower vendor (played by Singh) is seen introducing himself to the sister of the bride (played by Bhatt) as “Raj Dilwala”. She, in turn, asks if all the arrangements will be done on time. Assuring her, he quickly asks for payment to which the sister replies that all the payments will be made on the day of the wedding, adding even the hotel has not asked for advance payment. The film ends by introducing the newly launched Pay at Checkout feature, which allows users to book hotels without paying any advance.

Saujanya Shrivastava, chief marketing officer, MakeMyTrip, said the new feature follows the high-decibel campaign on zero cancellation fee on hotel bookings released in March (Watch here ). He admitted that the zero cancellation feature didn’t lead to a significant growth in bookings.

“Therefore, we conducted a focused research on people who were aware of the zero cancellation charges on hotel bookings but were still not booking hotels online. The result showed that hesitation to make advance booking was the major hindrance. Consumers in tier I and II towns were not comfortable paying in advance for hotel booking online. Since cash on delivery has truly revolutionalized the non-travel e-commerce we thought introducing the same (in the form of Pay at Checkout feature) to push trials,” he explained.

The current penetration of hotels available online is 12-14%, implying that a large chunk of bookings are happening offline. This presents a tremendous opportunity for online travel firms. In line with this objective, MakeMyTrip’s new feature aims to further drive category growth. It is currently available across 7, 500 domestic hotels, 18% of these are 4-5 star, 37% are 3-star hotels and 45% are 1-2 star, budget hotels.

In the first phase, the feature will cover domestic hotels which will be eventually scaled to international properties by the end of next month.

To tackle fraud bookings, MakeMyTrip will blacklist users who book a hotel using this feature but do not show up at the property three times in a row. In case of bookings in five-star hotels, a customer will be required to share his/her credit card details, and in case of cancellation/no show, the credit card details will be passed on to the hotel and they will be charged as per the hotel’s cancellation policy.

Bobby Pawar, managing director and chief creative officer, Publicis Worldwide, said, “The pairing of Alia and Ranveer has been hugely successful for MakeMyTrip. This is the third television campaign with these actors which introduces Pay at Checkout feature which to my mind is quite revolutionary. It is reassuring for consumers to first experience the service and then make a payment.”

The campaign will be promoted on television across general entertainment channels (GECs), news and movie channels, outdoor, digital and social media platforms. MakeMyTrip will also leverage cinema advertising in tier I and II towns.

Rajiv Dingra, founder and chief executive, WAT Consult, a Denstu Aegis Network-owned digital agency said that the campaign clearly targets the budget hotel customers and gives the message of post-paid payment option in an effective manner.

He said though creatively, the use of Raj Dilwala is clichéd, the celebs do add their quirkiness and charm to the campaign.

“Although it’s a run of the mill creatively but the screenplay and chemistry between the actors is what works. The message should work for the budget hotel traveller,” he added.