How India’s second largest online travel agency grew mobile revenues 32 times within two-months of launching their first version native apps.

Mobile-first mCommerce apps for an online travel agency

atra is India’s second largest online travel agency, generating over $1,000,000,000 in ticket sales annually, which represents over 25% of India’s online travel market. Yatra’s 700 employees build and operate an end to end online travel product for business-to-business and business-to-consumer verticals, which includes bookings for flights, hotels, holidays, buses, trains and cars.

“Within 2 months of launch, mobile soared to more than 16% of overall revenues from a mere 0.5%… I would recommend CognitiveClouds any day to any company for their quality of work and honesty.” -Abhi Kumar, Head of Mobile, Yatra

Problem

In May 2012, Yatra updated their mobile website to work with WAP- enabled handsets because mobile adoption was rapidly growing in India. While the apps caused a small bump in revenues, Yatra realized less than 0.5% of total revenues from mobile.

Six months later, the CEO of global travel industry leader Expedia said “Today, most of our sites are seeing 20% or more of their transactions coming from mobile.” Yatra’s revenue growth from mobile was flat while India became the fastest growing smartphone market in the world in 2013, leaving Yatra with one option — reinvent their end-to-end mobile experience or lose market share to new and existing competitors.

With an aggressive 6-month timeline and a goal to increase mobile revenues from 0.5% to 15% of total revenues, Yatra evaluated solutions proposed by 10 third-party vendors. Yatra selected CognitiveClouds as a clear leader among the vendors evaluated and Yatra’s Head of Mobile said CognitiveClouds:

  • Possessed design and technical skills on par with companies that delivered best-in-class products
  • Quoted real pricing required to deliver a world-class application
  • Provided an honest assessment of requirements and proposed solutions
  • Never proposed solutions that maximized their revenues

Solution

To provide Yatra’s customers with the best experience across iOS and Android devices, CognitiveClouds’ design team created unique user interfaces for iPhones, iPads, Android phones and Android tablets. Small tweaks like removing back buttons on Android created a native feeling experience.

The visual design (look and feel) was customized for each OS and over 500 wireframe screens and visual design assets were produced for these apps.

Yatra’s apps were intelligently architected to support dozens of screen resolutions on Android devices as well as Retina and non-Retina displays on iOS devices. By following a pure MVC architecture, engineers produced a crisp look and feel for a large range of devices with fewer lines of code.

When possible, CognitiveClouds’ team utilized open source tools and code to speed up development and reduce licensing costs.

Few changes to Yatra’s existing APIs were required and each app’s API integration was highly customized to handle performance and provide a rich user experience. Intelligent caching logic remembered the customer, past bookings, location, dates and filters to provide a better experience to returning customers.

In addition to credit card, debit card and coupon payment options, the apps enabled cards to be stored for faster bookings. Super secure hashing algorithms were used to encrypt card details and follow PCI compliance guidelines.

By utilizing automated mobile testing methods and continuous integration support, CognitiveClouds’ quality assurance team captured most bugs at the time of development. Behavior- driven development enabled CognitiveClouds’ team to find and fix most bugs before builds were distributed to Yatra’s team.

Results

Yatra’s mobile revenues continued to plateau for the six-months during which the apps were designed and built. These apps were highly anticipated and within two-months of launch, mobile bookings exploded from 0.5% to 16% of overall revenues. By delivering Yatra’s apps on-time and on-budget, CognitiveClouds exceeded Yatra’s internal goals and grew their mobile revenues 32 times within eight-months of kicking off the engagement.

After agreeing that CognitiveClouds exceeded expectations, Yatra’s management team decided to retain designers and engineers from CognitiveClouds’ team to continue to refine and enhance their native iOS and Android apps.

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