IRCTC Will Monetize 100 Terabytes of Passenger Data; Here Are 5 Possible Monetization Ideas!

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Indian Railways with BG Text-001

IRCTC is desperately looking for alternate mediums to increase their revenues as income from passenger fares and transportation of goods is not enough. Considering that we are right now living in the Information Age, where data is gold, Indian Railways is all set to monetize millions of phone numbers and email ids of rail passengers.

As per various estimates, more than 100 terabytes of passenger data is presently in possession of Indian IRCTC, and in coming days, this massive amount of data would be monetized. This would open up a new paradigm of data monetization strategy, which even WhatsApp and Facebook hasn’t quite decoded till date.

With more than 2 crore passengers travelling via Indian Railways on a daily basis, the possibilities look immense.

In February this year, while presenting Rail Budget, Minister Ramesh Prabhu had informed the Parliament that currently revenues from non-fare segment is mere 5% of Indian Rail’s overall revenue, which would be now increased to 10% in the coming years.

Besides monetizing data, some other sources of non-fare revenue generation include:

  • Station redevelopment (monetizing land for commercial purposes)
  • Monetizing the land along railway tracks
  • Advertisement on railway coaches
  • Revenue from manufacturing of engines and coaches, and exporting them

Confirming the news about passenger data monetization, an unnamed official from IRCTC said: “We have asked KPMG to evaluate options to see if it makes sense to set up a subsidiary, a joint venture, or a special purpose vehicle through IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd) to look at the options to monetise data..”

How Can Passenger Data Be Monetized: 5 Speculations

Indian Railways has high quality, geographically precise data of millions of passengers, which includes their age, name, email address, phone numbers, information about their travels, preferences for non-veg/veg food, preferences about berths (upper, lower) and more.

We speculate 5 possibilities of monetization of this data, which Indian Railways may or maynot have thought about:

1) Targeted Ads

Say a passenger is travelling from Delhi to Chennai in a superfast train. Based on the class he chose (sleeper, AC), Indian Railways can tie up with telecom companies and brands to offer targeted advertisements, at specific time interval.

For instance, if the passenger is in 2AC, and travelling with family, then IRCTC can tie up with his telecom operator (say Airtel) and brands like KFC or Pizza Hut to offer him advertisements via phone calls, at precisely the moment he is between Ratlam and Bhopal, so that he can order a product which can be delivered at Bhopal. Based on the spending capacity, a lot of experimentations can be done. Hotel chains in Chennai or Delhi can offer special rates, which can be exclusive to that passenger.

2) Paid SMS Alerts

If the passenger is supposed to get down at a station in the middle of the night, then a paid SMS Alert service and a paid wake-up call option can be provided, to help the passenger in the middle of the night.

3) Mobile App based Ads

IRCTC can launch an app, which would provide latest news regarding Indian Railways, major tourist attractions, and accessible even while the passenger is offline. Advertisements from this app usage can be generated.

4) Pre-Recorded Ads

Pre-recorded advertisements of products can be delivered to the travelling passengers, and if the passenger listens to that advertisement for a specific period, then some concessions can be allowed for his next travel. Some points can be given for every advertisement listened on phone.

5) Location Based Offers

Using Big Data, IRCTC can target all those passengers who visited a specific location, say Goa, and offer them discounted tickets for other tourist locations like Pondicherry, or Daman and Diu after a specific time interval (say after 6 months).

Besides, the emails and phone numbers can be used for target-based advertisements and campaigns, periodically.

Do share your ideas on how Indian Railways can monetize 100s of terabytes of passenger data, by commenting right here!

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  1. Mohamed Aamir says

    Railway Minister is Mr. Suresh Prabhu and not Ramesh Prabhu, as mentioned in the article.

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