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India’s MakeMyTrip Acquires EasyToBook In A Push To Grow Online Hotel Bookings

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Indian travel booking site, MakeMyTrip, has acquired EasyToBook, an Amsterdam-based hotel booking portal, for around $5 million. With this acquisition, MakeMyTrip is hoping to increase its proportion of revenue earned through online hotel bookings, and also target inbound customers traveling to Asia.

“With the ETB acquisition, we are expanding our presence beyond South East Asia,” MakeMyTrip founder Deep Kalra told me.

“One of our key company objectives is to continue growing the share of the hotels and packages business in our overall revenue mix,” he added.

MakeMyTrip is among the early online businesses in India. It became the poster child for the country’s growing Internet population after raising $70 million in a Nasdaq public offering in August 2010. Since then, MakeMyTrip has experienced a roller coaster ride. In year ending March 2013, it even posted loss of $1.9 million.

The company has been pushing to go beyond just online travel, and even explore markets outside India. In 2011 for instance, MakeMyTrip acquired Singapore-based Luxury Tours & Travels and picked 19.9% stake in travel search engine Ixigo.com. In November of that year, it also bought Delhi-based MyGuesthouse Accommodations for $1 million.

As this Businessweek story highlighted, the Indian online businesses are facing challenges in growing the base of people who actually transact online.

MakeMyTrip’s biggest challenge will be to not only grow its business in India by acquiring new customers, but also identify opportunities to expand beyond the country.

“We have been open to inorganic growth and acqua-hiring. Other than niche travel tech firms and specialist travel firms, we also look for opportunities in ‘supplier disintermediation’,” Kalra said.