The long overdue innovation of travel ancillary services
The travel and tourism industry makes up 10.3% of the global GDP and has a direct correlation with economic growth.
Because of this, the demand for travel is ever-present. In 2019 (pre-covid), over 4.5bn people boarded a flight and out of that 1.5bn were international travellers. As of September 2022, total air traffic rose 57.0% compared to September 2021 and is expected to cross pre-covid levels soon.
While the travel industry has evolved considerably, most of the digital innovation in travel has primarily been restricted to 2 (Stock Keeping Units) SKUs: flights and hotels. This has led to a broken consumer experience, where a traveller can rely on a few trusted sellers and airlines for the journey but has to search, coordinate and rely on multiple sellers for everything else, like visa procurement, insurance, cab services and the like.
This is compounded by the rise of “connected trips” (a new megatrend in travel), especially with younger and business travellers, who desire more customized, bundled experiences as they explore the world.
While airlines have tried to upsell seats, meals, and priority services along with tickets and OTAs have been adding categories like holidays and cab services, they have been mostly unsuccessful in offering an integrated travel experience to consumers. This comes down to three factors:
- Operational constraints: Onboarding multiple service providers for each ancillary is a large overhead cost. For example, not only will visa procurement vendors be completely different from those who provide insurance, there will be multiple vendors within the visa category for each and every country.
- Technology constraints: Every one of these ancillary providers will need to be integrated one at a time. Also, most ancillary suppliers come from a service background with limited technology capabilities.
- Prioritisation: OTAs have enough whitespace in their core categories (e.g. bus travel, rail travel, holidays etc.) that take priority over integrating fragmented secondary services.
These reasons lead to a broken trip-planning experience for the traveller and increase the bandwidth and cost of integrating ancillary services for the platform/travel seller. This is exactly what OnArrival aims to solve by building the travel ancillary platform that will enable travel sellers to focus on their core business while “turning on” ancillary offerings as seamlessly as possible.
The value that OnArrival can unlock for the travel and tourism industry is immense. McKinsey estimates that flight ticket ancillary revenues constituted $105bn, or 14.6% of an airline’s 2019 revenues, essentially defining airline profitability. Collectively, in-trip ancillaries represent $330bn in TAM (Total Addressable Market), which is growing year-on-year by 14% in a post-pandemic world, with commissions ranging from 15%-60%.
Combined with the fact that in 2021 the travel industry added over ~$540bn in debt which will soon grow to $870bn - $1.1tn by 2025, the pressure to increase bottom-line performance is real and the answer could lie in disrupting the fragmented and largely undigitised travel ancillary services market.
OnArrival: A win-win-win for travel sellers, ancillary providers, and travellers.
Ankit Sawant and Pawan Shetty decided to build OnArrival based on their rich background in business and technical experience, respectively.
Ankit has spent close to 10 years in the travel industry working across OTAs, tours & activity companies, and travel-related SaaS. With Cleartrip, he was part of the team that launched the tours & activities product category. Pawan has been developing large-scale logistics and healthcare applications for over 10 years. Before co-founding OnArrival, Pawan launched Nureca Limited’s tech division and their digital B2C healthcare product.
Together they are building OnArrival as a win-win-win solution for travel sellers, travel ancillary providers, and the consumer.
For travel sellers, OnArrival is a one-stop place to integrate over 20+ travel ancillary services like visa and insurance. By integrating and consolidating a variety of ancillary services OnArrival saves travel sellers technology bandwidth while opening up new, high margin revenue streams.
For travel ancillary service providers, OnArrival enables them to expand their distribution across geographies and seller platforms; without having to worry about how to integrate complex technology. The ancillary service market is a broken landscape that hasn’t benefited from the digitisation wave of the past two decades. Offering them plug-and-play solutions levels the playing field and helps them focus on the quality of their services.
Finally, travellers benefit from choice and convenience which in turn reduces the anxiety and stress of travel.
The team has already started onboarding some of the country’s leading OTAs & B2B aggregators as clients, focusing initially on integrated insurance and visa services. Ankit and Pawan’s vision is to power a billion trips globally and we are super excited to partner with them on their journey!