Mobile payment services firm Paytm is set to diversify its portfolio by foraying into the travel space. Last year, the company had entered online retailing space.
The company plans to build the country's largest travel marketplace aimed at offering a range of solutions for travel and tourism sector. The services will include cab rides, bus, train and air tickets, hotel bookings, visa facilitation, foreign exchange and international mobile phone cards.
Paytm wants the model of its travel platform to be similar to that of Alibaba-run Alitrip and the company might partner with the Chinese firm for international travel packages, sources told Business Standard.
However, Paytm's travel services will initially be included on its current portal on web and mobile application. The services will not be launched as a separate business like Alitrip.
"We are looking to build the largest marketplace for travel in India.... A person planning a holiday will not have to look anywhere else for any travel needs," said Abhishek Ranjan, vice-president, Paytm.
Paytm is the first e-commerce major to enter the travel space, which has been "dominated" by travel companies such as MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and travel and tour operators like Thomas Cook and Kuoni India.
The company has opted for Bengaluru to carry out operations for the travel business and the company plans to ramp up recruitment in the vertical. The full-fledged operations for the new business will start by mid-2016.
Paytm is partnering with big and small travel agents, transporters, hotels and ancillary service providers to roll out its travel marketplace.
"We will also have people who can help in getting visas, sellers who will offer foreign exchange at competitive prices and international mobile SIM card providers," said Ranjan.
The company is also trying to partner with big players including IndiGo for air tickets and global distribution system major Amadeus. It has already made a tie-up with the government's railways ticketing website IRCTC.
"As we cannot give cash back on train tickets, we are working on ways we can promote the service," Ranjan added.