Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the Indian railways, will be completing 20 years of operations in September 2019. This hospitality wing of Indian Railways has been taking initiatives to make rail journeys memorable for its customers. The hospitality wing of Indian Railways has been working towards providing all-time connectivity by making its services more digitised.
Sharing how IRCTC is commencing digital initiatives at an industry event in Delhi, Rajni Hasija, Director – Toursim and Marketing, IRCTC, says, “In the last 20 years, IRCTC has covered a long distance in providing our services to our guests. IRCTC, being a hospitality wing, has been taking a lot of initiatives in the field of catering. Every day, we serve around 5.5 lakh meals a day – this is a huge number. We have used technology very well in providing these services. In the last two years, we took an initiative of e-catering and at present, we book 25,000 meals a day – which is all being done electronically. Meals are being served through aggregators to facilitate our customers and provide the meals they desire.”
To gain the confidence of customers, recently, live streaming of the kitchen has been done, which is present on the E-Drishti portal. To empower this further, the live streaming has also been linked to a QR code solution, where each meal provided from the kitchen of IRCTC will be having a QR code in it. “By scanning that QR code, you will be able to visit the live streaming of that kitchen. Nothing can be a better transparent system than this,” she emphasises.
The online booking through the IRCTC app and other rail travel packages have been breaking new grounds.
“Indian Railway has been a pioneer in using technology, it started the PRS way back in 1986. Now in the year 2019, we are coming up with stable technologies for providing services. This journey would not have been possible without the use of technology. All these sales of the packages where we are earning around Rs 200-300 crores from the online services of IRCTC. We have used technology heavily for the promotion and the sale our product. Our ticketing app is the biggest app. Our ticketing portal has 5.37 crore, active users – it is the wealth that we have. Using the strength of our database we are promoting our products and sales are happening through them,” highlights Hasija.
The service wing is looking for ways to make its sales of products monetised and providing an enriching experience. On the payment solutions front, it has launched its own payment gateway, iPay. Soon, it will be coming up with its own cash card. Facilitating the customer experience by providing good services through the portal is need of the hour and it is working hard, even through its social media channels.
“In the last two-and-a-half years, we have gained popularity on social media platforms as well. In 2018-19, IRCTC had around 765 million mentions, which also shows that a large amount of conversation is happening through these channels. Out of the 765 million mentions, 73.6 per cent are positive mentions about the services being rendered and we have documentary proof of the services. Travel is an experience; it begins from the moment you book your ticket and for providing that, we are using technology like never before,” adds Hasija.
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