The Marketing mix of IRCTC analyses the 7Ps of IRCTC, which includes the Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Physical Evidence, and Process of IRCTC. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited is referred to as IRCTC. It is a public company of Indian origins. IRCTC is a subsidiary of its parent company, Indian Railways, and is owned by the Government of India and operated by the Ministry of Railways. In 1853, Indian Railways started its operations with its first journey from Bombay to Thane, and in 1951, it was nationalized under one umbrella to become Indian Railways. Some of its competitors in the transport industry, domestic and international tourism industry are –
- Public Transport like bus, taxi
- Type: Public sector undertaking
- Industry: Tourism, transportation, and hospitality
- Founded: 27 September 1999
- Founder: Ministry of Railways
- Headquarters: New Delhi, India
- Area served: India
- Key people: Alok Kumar (Chairman) and VK Yadav (CEO)
- Number of employees: 10,000
Table of Contents
IRCTC Product Strategy
IRCTC is vital to Indian Railways and handles its tourism marketing, catering, and online ticketing operations. IRCTC offers the railways a diverse range of marketing products and services.
- Online Ticketing Services: IRCTC’s most popular service is the online booking of railway tickets. This includes reservation of seats and berths in various travel classes on Indian Railways.
- Catering Services: IRCTC provides catering services on trains and at railway stations. This includes meals, snacks, and beverages served on trains and platforms.
- Tourism: IRCTC also engages in tourism-related activities. It offers various tourism packages, including domestic and international tours, adventure tours, religious tours, and special tourist trains like the ‘Bharat Darshan’ and luxury trains like the ‘Maharajas’ Express.’
- Tatkal Booking: An exceptional service for last-minute travelers, where a limited number of seats are available for booking at a premium one day before the train’s departure.
- Rail Neer: IRCTC manufactures and distributes packaged drinking water under the brand ‘Rail Neer,’ which is available on trains and at railway stations.
- E-Catering Services: This service allows passengers to order food from various restaurants and food chains to be delivered directly to their seats during their train journey.
- IRCTC Air: A service for booking air tickets through the IRCTC platform.
- State Teertha: Special pilgrimage packages catering to various religious destinations across India.
- Loyalty Program: IRCTC also has a loyalty program known as ‘Shubh Yatra’ for frequent travelers, offering discounts and other benefits.
- IRCTC iPay: A digital payment gateway facilitating easy and secure transactions on the IRCTC platform.
- Executive Lounges: These are premium lounges at select railway stations, offering WiFi, buffet services, and wash and change facilities.
- Retiring Rooms and Dormitories: Facilities for passengers to rest and stay at railway stations.
IRCTC Pricing Strategy
- Dynamic Pricing in Ticketing: IRCTC employs a dynamic pricing strategy for ticket reservations, especially in services like Tatkal and premium trains. Prices fluctuate based on demand, booking time, and travel class, optimizing revenue while offering choices to different customer segments.
- Competitive Pricing for Catering Services: IRCTC follows a competitive pricing model in catering. They balance quality and affordability, ensuring that food and beverage prices are accessible to the average traveler while maintaining a standard that aligns with the expectations of their diverse customer base.
- Value-Based Pricing in Tourism Packages: IRCTC adopts a value-based pricing strategy for tourism services. They offer varied packages – from budget to luxury – priced according to the perceived value they offer in terms of destinations, accommodations, and additional services. This approach targets many customers, from budget travelers to luxury tourists.
- Tiered Pricing for Ancillary Services: In ancillary services like executive lounges, retiring rooms, and e-catering, IRCTC uses tiered pricing. This strategy provides multiple service levels at different price points, allowing customers to choose based on their preferences and willingness to pay.
- Cost-Plus Pricing for Rail Neer: For products like ‘Rail Neer’ (packaged drinking water), IRCTC follows a cost-plus pricing strategy. This ensures the product is affordable to the mass market, aligning with IRCTC’s broader objective of service accessibility while covering costs and ensuring a sustainable margin.
IRCTC Place Strategy
IRCTC is one of the world’s largest railway networks and has spread its presence in every other country and every nook and corner of India. Its operations are extended to seven union territories and twenty-nine states, covered by an extensive track of nearly 115,000 km, and freight spread over a 65,436 km route.
Here’s the place strategy of IRCTC.
- Pan-India Presence: IRCTC operates across the entire Indian Railways network, ensuring the availability of its services at most railway stations, covering remote and urban areas alike. This widespread physical presence allows it to reach a broad customer base.
- Online Platforms: With a robust online booking system, IRCTC makes its ticketing and tourism services accessible from anywhere, catering to the digital needs of modern consumers. This includes its website and mobile applications.
- Authorized Agents and Partnerships: IRCTC has a vast network of authorized agents and partnerships with travel agencies, extending its reach beyond direct consumer interaction. These agents facilitate more accessible access to IRCTC’s services, especially in areas with limited internet access.
- Integrated Service Centers: At significant railway stations, IRCTC has integrated service centers that provide a one-stop solution for various travel needs, including ticketing, catering, and tourism information. These centers enhance customer experience through direct, in-person service.
- Collaboration with Local Vendors and Caterers: IRCTC collaborates with a range of local vendors and well-known food chains for its catering services, enhancing its service variety and quality. This strategy also supports local businesses and caters to regional food preferences.
IRCTC Promotion Strategy
IRCTC has become Asia-Pacific and the world’s fastest and third-largest growing website, with registered users in 2013 accounting for six lakhs. Its name has several awards and recognitions, such as Website of the Year India in 2014, Indian e-Retail Awards 2015, Website of the Year Award for 2015, and Best Use of App during the Mobillion event.
Indian Railways has started a loyalty program for regular and frequent travelers called Shubh Yatra, and by paying an annual fee upfront, a passenger can get discounts on ticket booking for the whole year. IRCTC can be easily reached via its toll-free and paid helpline numbers. It is a 24*7 service.
Some Recent Video ads and Print ads for IRCTC are:
IRCTC People Strategy
The “People” element of the Service Marketing Mix for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is critical to its success, directly impacting customer experience and satisfaction. Here are key points regarding the “People” aspect of the marketing mix for IRCTC:
- Diverse Workforce: IRCTC employs a diverse workforce, including customer service representatives, catering staff, IT professionals, and management personnel, all crucial for delivering a wide range of services efficiently.
- Training and Development: Employees undergo rigorous training programs to ensure high customer service, safety, and operational efficiency standards. These training programs cover various areas, including hospitality, customer interaction, technology use, and emergency procedures.
- Customer Service Teams: IRCTC has dedicated customer service teams to handle inquiries, bookings, grievances, and feedback. These teams are accessible through multiple channels, such as call centers, email, and social media, ensuring responsive and helpful customer support.
- On-board Staff: The on-board catering and housekeeping staff are crucial in delivering the service promise of IRCTC. Their professionalism, behavior, and service quality directly impact the passenger experience during train journeys.
- Technology Interface: While not people per se, the IT professionals behind IRCTC’s robust online booking and information systems are crucial. They ensure the website and app are user-friendly, secure, and reliable for millions of users, indirectly influencing customer satisfaction.
- Feedback Mechanism: IRCTC emphasizes customer feedback to improve service quality continually. Employees are trained to encourage feedback, which is then analyzed to implement improvements in service delivery.
- Partnerships and Collaborations: The personnel involved in partnerships, such as with hotels, airlines, and other service providers, play a vital role in expanding IRCTC’s service offerings and enhancing customer experiences through bundled services.
- Leadership and Management: The strategic vision and leadership provided by IRCTC’s management are instrumental in guiding the organization toward customer-centric innovations and operational excellence.
- Safety and Security Staff: Given the importance of passenger safety, IRCTC employs dedicated safety and security personnel, including Railway Protection Force (RPF) staff, to ensure safe travel and security within stations and trains.
- Commitment to Quality and Hygiene: Especially in catering services, the staff is trained and monitored for adherence to health and hygiene standards, which are critical for maintaining service quality and customer trust.
IRCTC Process Strategy
The “Process” element of the Service Marketing Mix for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) outlines the flow of activities that customers experience while engaging with its services. This aspect of marketing strategy is crucial for ensuring customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. Here are key points regarding the “Process” of the marketing mix for IRCTC:
- Online Booking System: IRCTC’s streamlined online booking process allows customers to easily search for trains, check availability, and book tickets. The website and mobile app provide a user-friendly interface for reservations, cancellations, and modifications.
- E-Ticketing and M-Ticketing: The e-ticketing system enables customers to book tickets electronically, receiving an e-ticket via email, which can be printed or displayed on a mobile device. M-ticketing through the IRCTC mobile app further simplifies the process, eliminating the need for physical tickets.
- Dynamic Pricing Mechanism: The pricing for certain trains varies dynamically based on demand, similar to airline tickets. This transparent process allows passengers to choose travel times and dates based on fare affordability.
- Tatkal Booking: The Tatkal system allows for last-minute bookings, providing a process for passengers who need to travel on short notice. This involves a different pricing and timing structure to accommodate urgent travel needs.
- Customer Service and Support: IRCTC has established a multi-channel customer support system that includes call centers, email support, and social media engagement to assist customers with queries, complaints, and feedback.
- Catering and On-board Services: Catering services involve pre-booking meals, on-board meal service in select trains, and e-catering options allowing passengers to order food from various choices delivered directly to their seats.
- Tour Packages and Tourism Services: IRCTC offers a process for booking tour packages, including pilgrimage tours, adventure tours, and luxury train experiences. Customers can explore options, book, and customize packages online or through authorized agents.
- Refund and Cancellation Process: The system for cancellations and refunds is structured to be transparent and customer-friendly, with clear guidelines on timelines and refund amounts for different types of tickets and services.
- Feedback and Quality Improvement: IRCTC has a structured process for collecting and analyzing customer feedback, which is used to improve service quality and continuously address gaps in service delivery.
- Safety and Security Protocols: The process includes strict safety and security measures at every step of the service delivery, from online transactions being secured through encryption to ensuring passenger safety and security on board.
- Accessibility and Inclusivity: The booking and service delivery processes are designed to be inclusive, catering to the needs of different passenger segments, including senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and women travelers.
IRCTC Physical Evidence Strategy
The “Physical Evidence” element of the Service Marketing Mix refers to the environment in which the service is delivered and any tangible components that facilitate the service or help consumers judge the service. For the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), physical evidence is crucial in shaping perceptions of service quality and customer satisfaction. Here are key points regarding the physical evidence marketing mix of various services of IRCTC:
- Website and Mobile App Interface: The design, usability, and functionality of IRCTC’s website and mobile app serve as primary physical evidence of their digital service quality. A user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate enhances the customer experience.
- E-Tickets and M-Tickets: The visual design and information layout of electronic tickets (e-tickets) and mobile tickets (m-tickets) provide evidence of IRCTC’s service. These tickets contain essential travel details, QR codes, and branding elements.
- Trains and Coaches: The exterior and interior condition of trains and coaches, including cleanliness, maintenance, and branding, directly impact passengers’ perceptions of IRCTC’s service quality. Well-maintained coaches with clear signage offer positive physical evidence.
- Catering and Food Packaging: The quality of food packaging, presentation, and the hygiene of on-board catering services provide tangible evidence of service standards. Branded packaging and the appearance of meals can influence customer satisfaction.
- Uniforms of Staff: The uniforms worn by IRCTC staff, including catering personnel, train attendants, and customer service representatives, serve as physical evidence of professionalism and brand identity.
- Station Lounges and Waiting Areas: The design, cleanliness, and comfort of station lounges and waiting areas used by IRCTC for its premium services, like executive lounges, reflect the quality of service and attention to passenger comfort.
- Information and Signage: Clear and informative signage at stations, on trains, and within IRCTC-operated facilities helps guide passengers and improves their travel experience, as evidence of effective service management.
- Tourism Packages and Brochures: The physical appearance and quality of promotional materials, such as brochures for tourism packages, provide tangible evidence of the value and professionalism of IRCTC’s tourism services.
- Feedback and Rating Systems: Tangible systems for collecting customer feedback, including digital kiosks, feedback forms, and mobile app rating features, demonstrate IRCTC’s commitment to service improvement and customer satisfaction.
- Cleanliness and Sanitation Facilities: The cleanliness of trains, especially toilets and washrooms, and the availability of sanitation facilities like hand sanitizers play a significant role in shaping passengers’ perceptions of IRCTC’s service quality.
- Safety Measures: Visible safety measures, including CCTV cameras, emergency instructions, and the presence of security personnel, provide passengers with evidence of IRCTC’s commitment to safety and security.
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