Paytm on Wednesday forayed into hotel bookings and announced the acquisition of NightStay, a luxury hotel-booking platform that offers deals on last-minute bookings. The digital payments brand owned by One97 Communications is set to invest Rs. 500 crores to scale up its operations and expand the hotel-booking portfolio, according to the press statement. Further, Paytm is in plans to leverage its deal with Noida-based NightStay to bolster its new move. NightStay co-founder and CEO Nasr Khan will be leading the newly launched hotel-booking category at Paytm.
With the latest development, Paytm said that customers could access more than 50,000 daily room nights from hand-picked hotels. It has also initially tied up with over 5,000 hotels across the budget, luxury, and business segments. This number is aimed to reach 2 million hotels and alternate accommodations globally, with the availability of 50 million rooms within the first 18 months. Moreover, the entity is aiming to emerge among Asia's leading hotel booking platforms by 2020 - taking on the likes of Cleartrip, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip, and Oyo.
The list of initial partners the new venture includes the Zuri, Sarovar, Treebo, Vresorts, Sterling, Ginger, and Bloomrooms among other chains. Paytm is also set to work closely with partner hotels to enable technology-driven solutions for customers, the company said in the statement.
The new step by Paytm aligns with the previous moves, including its partnerships with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC). The prime aim for the entity is to broaden its travel verticle that is already enabling train, bus, and flight ticket bookings. Earlier this year, Paytm also started offering foreign exchange bookings for international travellers.
Started in 2014, the travel vertical of Paytm, which is formally called Paytm Travel, is claimed to sell over 60 million tickets every year and be a leading player for train, bus, and flight ticket bookings.
"The launch of domestic hotel bookings is an important step forward as it will help travellers around the country conveniently plan and book their perfect trip on Paytm," said Madhur Deora, Chief Financial Officer, Paytm, in the statement. "We want to offer the broadest travel selection on our platform, and look forward to continuing our expansion with the help of our trusted travel partners."
NightStay's Khan will lead the hotel bookings venture at Paytm and will be responsible for its overall growth and development as well. Financial terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.
"I believe that my experience of this domain combined with the platform's reach and credibility will help deliver a delightful experience to our users," Khan said in the statement.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in Gadgets 360.