Travel Curious Pitti Brothers, Now Run India’s Leading Travel Company6 min read
EaseMyTrip, the second-largest travel portal among key online Travel Agencies is also growing at the fastest rate of over 43% year-on-year was founded in 2008 by the Pitti brothers, Nishant Pitti, Rikant Pitti, and Prashant Pitti. They always provide customers with an option to not pay any convenience fee and yet through their lean operations are the only profitable Online Travel Agency. Backed by a very strong technology architecture, their mobile application is the highest rated in the market.
Nowadays trips are planned on the go with DIY travel planning gaining pace in India and with the ease of booking flight tickets people rarely approach travel agents these days. But if we rewind and go back in the past, that was not the case. Around a decade ago, any trip plan would involve a travel agent who would look after all the travel bookings.
Similarly, the Pitti Family was very fond of traveling and at regular intervals used to visit new destinations and a travel agent would book their flight tickets on their behalf. On one of such family trips, while checking the price of the air tickets online, they surprisingly found that they were paying Rs.1500 extra for each ticket.
This incident had sowed the seeds of entrepreneurship in them and they planned to start their own travel business which now is making its debut on the Stock Markets.
Their father used to travel a lot and book his tickets via a travel agent, we are talking about 2005 when OTAs were not that popular. By getting flight tickets booked by the agent, the Pitti family was losing more than Rs. 20,000 per month. That is when they started booking tickets for the family, and eventually for their relatives & family friends as well and hence a small business idea took birth. Their fame spread when their father started referring them to his colleagues as they could get their tickets cheaper. Pitti brothers, in turn, were getting their pocket money by charging a Rs 100-500 commission on each ticket.
This was the birth of one of the nation’s leading and profitable travel brands EaseMyTrip, let’s look at the company’s journey up until the IPO in the next few segments of the blog.
From a Bedroom To 350 People Office
The company was founded in 2008 by the youngest entrepreneurs in India. In the initial steps of adulthood, Nishant started running a travel agency Duke Travels from home which was later rebranded as EaseMyTrip. The brothers would market the business through bulk SMS, print ads and selling tickets on a reputed business portal. The rate of conversion was good, as around 20-25 people used to call back to inquire after each SMS blast. Soon they started getting customers from other parts of India. They also started selling tickets on eBay. The business started with an initial investment of Rs. 2,50,000 in 2008 with 4 people on staff.
Earlier, when they were booking lots of airline tickets for family, close relatives, and family friends, the number was noticeable and when an airline checked that a single IP was making so many tickets, they contacted and asked the Pitti brothers to do business with them. This was the first association with an airline that went on with time.
They soon partnered with all airlines and took an agency from them (on a commission basis) and started networking with travel agents and generating sales. It was at this time that Air Deccan started selling air tickets in the Rs 500-700 range. Their offering to travel agents was very simple, the agents were offered more commission and were able to book tickets across airlines with minimal working capital.
While the company was still in its early stages, online travel agencies had started receiving popularity but the market wasn’t crowded. Founders saw a huge opportunity for online portals and their idea was simple – providing a platform that helps travel agencies assist their customers and give these small companies a means to grow their business.
The end goal, more importantly, was that the company’s founders wanted to empower and ease the process of booking travel for Indian consumers by providing them competitive pricing, quality service, and comprehensive options. In order to offer the best pricing to the customers, they always gave customers an option to not pay convenience fees.
The company started with just 4 people, and today has reached out to a strength of 350 people. In the 12 years of its existence, it has become one of the leading travel companies in India. Presently, the EaseMyTrip network is comprised of over 59,000 travel agents and 10.32 million direct customers. The company has the highest play-store rated Android App with a rating of 4.7 stars.
Some Thorns On The Way
Like any entrepreneur, the Pitti brothers also faced lots of challenges, however, their ‘Never Give Up’ attitude got them going.
The biggest problem that they faced was convincing people in the early stages of the business as no one had ever heard of the company. Once the company started providing services to the agents, the first challenge that they faced was their age. Agents were not taking us seriously as they were too young. It was difficult for associated agents to rely on teenagers.
Another big challenge was the growing competition in the travel business market. As a solution, the Pitti brothers through their lean operations and low operating cost they were able to offer flight tickets, hotels, and packages at greater discounts and more affordable prices to customers.
Recently, when the Covid-19 hurricane hit the world and especially got the travel industry to its knees. But the only profitable travel portal EaseMyTrip recovered almost quickly post-pandemic.
IPO Listing Details
EaseMyTrip is set to launch its ₹510 crore IPO on March 8, 2021. The company is an exception among a large pool of internet companies, which have tried to get listed — EaseMyTrip has bootstrapped its way to the public markets. The company is issuing shares at a price band of Rs. 186 to Rs. 187 with a minimum lot size of 80 shares and in multiples thereafter. The company is offering up to 27,419,354 equity shares with a face value of Rs. 2 each.
The offer is a complete Offer For Sale and is being managed by Axis Capital and JM Financial. K Fin Technologies is the registrar for the issue and the shares are proposed to be listed on the NSE and BSE.
“We never went for a private equity or a venture capital fundraise, even though there was investor interest along the way,” said Pitti. Over the years the company grew year-on-year comfortably, which meant they never needed to take investor money.
Easy Trip Planners Limited intends to achieve the benefits of listing the equity shares of the company on stock exchanges like enhancing the visibility of the brand.
Take a look at the IPO Timeline
EaseMyTrip is targeting to expand its business in Tier – 2 and Tier – 3 cities of India through its wide range of travel agents. The company already has its overseas branches in Singapore, UAE, and United Kingdom. The company also plans to open subsidiaries in major international holiday destinations to increase revenues from Non-Air Products, including hotels and holiday packages, and car rentals.