Ixigo, an online travel agency based in Gurugram, India, has unveiled plans to enter into the hotel bookings category later this year, the Hindu BusinessLine reports.

Currently, for hotel accommodations, Ixigo reroutes all its customers to Booking.com but this move is part of Ixigo’s strategy to create a stronger presence in the online travel sector and lower its dependence on external partners.

Ixigo co-founder Aloke Bajpai said: “Our differentiator will be the customer experience, just like we have successfully delivered in the three verticals we operate in today.

“Despite the competition and the long journey ahead, our user base gives us an advantage and we won’t need to overspend on acquiring customers like many initial hotel OTAs.”

Over the years, the company claims to have built a sizable user base, with over 60 million monthly active users and over six million daily active users.

It boasts of a growth rate of eight to nine million downloads and four to five million transactions monthly.

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The company aims to leverage its existing user base to reduce the requirement for huge spending on customer acquisition.

Bajpai added: “Our user base has been instrumental in driving our growth across different verticals and we are confident that it will continue to support us as we enter the hotel segment.

“While the hotel segment may not be a significant chunk for us initially, we will have to handle it on our own instead of just partnering with booking.com.”

Following the removal of Covid-19 restrictions, Ixigo claims to have seen six times growth, mostly due to its customer-centric behaviour and strategic acquisitions of companies such as AbhiBus and ConfirmTkt in the bus and train ticketing segments.

It also recently partnered with tech-based travel start-up Pick Your Trail to strengthen its packages section.

The company plans to expand into packages and experiences after bolstering its hotel reservations segment and its visa category.

Previously, Ixigo had stated its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) launch, after getting approval for its Draft Red Herring Prospectus from the regulatory body for the securities and commodity market, the Securities and Exchange Board of India. However, the travel company has not announced a date for the IPO launch.