Retail in Asia

In Trends

Clicks, bricks and brands: Online travel’s troubles reflect a broader e-commerce conflict

Tickets on Jet Airways and IndiGo, two of India’s largest airlines, will no longer be readily available on MakeMyTrip.com, the major online travel agency. The dispute centres on some of MakeMyTrip’s marketing techniques, and should be closely watched. As more and more Indians buy products online, conflicts between big online retailers and the bricks-and-mortar producers whose goods and services the internet sites are reselling will only grow. In this case, the travel portal was using a technique common among its global peers: it would offer some tickets to its customers with a deep discount, without letting the customers know exactly which airline the tickets were on. As a consequence, a customer could find herself booked on Kingfisher, put at the risk of flight cancellation, or even on Air India.