Indian flight and hotel booking company Cleartrip, announced they are now offering a pay@hotel (pay-at-hotel) option to its Indian customers.
The new option will let users of Cleartrip’s portal or mobile application to book a room at over 200,000 hotels in 40,000 cities around the world without the need to pre-pay for the reservation.
Participating hotels are listed with a pay@hotel icon next to them. This feature eliminates the payment requirement to pre-order and book the room. After booked, a Cleartrip representative will contact the user a few days prior to the stay to confirm the booking. If the user’s plans have changed or they decided not to stay at the hotel, the reservation will be cancelled at no charge.
Cleartrip announced the new feature in a blog post earlier today. According to the post a large percent of Indians are hesitant when booking online. The majority of hotels in India are not related to chains or brands, causing fears and doubts to the reliability of the hotels. Cleartrip also offers their “What You See is What You Pay” and “Assured Best Stay Experience” policies, guaranteeing the price and accommodations are as listed when booking the room.
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“Users are often dissuaded from making bookings online for hotels in India because of the lack of branded chain hotels — they simply don’t know what the actual experience at the hotel will be. We believe that pay@hotel together with our ‘assured best stay experience’ policy will go a long way in reducing their fears and building trust in online bookings,” stated the blog post.
It would seem Cleartrip has found a way to a offer cash-on-delivery option for hotel bookings. Cash-on-delivery is immensely popular in India, as the number of cardholders per capita is extremely low. Amazon.in has recently entered an agreement with the Indian Postal Service to offer cash-on-delivery payments to help instill their presence in the Indian market. On the other hand, Indian marketplace Snapdeal, is said to launch a new payment gateway to help reduce the amount of cash-on-delivery orders placed.
It is not clear how Cleartrip is to turn a profit with the new feature, as they are not included in the payment process. We are guessing Cleartrip will charge a referral fee on completed stays.