happy roads

Indian state-controlled oil and gas company, Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd. (BPCL) will soon enter the travel industry with its very own startup, named as ‘Happy Roads’. The travel offering will document itineraries for clients and will assist them in planning a fun-filled trip. It will focus on smooth and safe execution of road trips, which has gained massive popularity among the Indian youth.

As per a report in Livemint, BPCL will launch the app in the coming two months. Through the app, the company will target the Indian netizens and hopes to emerge as a strong entity in the competitive travel space. BPCL seems to understand the present renaissance in the marketplace and the consumer shift towards widely accepted online channels.

Quoting the progress of Happy Roads, one of the senior official aware to the developments said,

We are doing something very different which no one has done. We have tied up with some of the best content creators on travel for Happy Roads. Our app will also give real time updates on travel destinations to our customers.

Their app will categorise travel destinations under labels such as wildlife, adventure, nature, offbeat, romantic, leisure, religious and heritage. Users will be able to explore relative destinations under these various heads offered and can plan a trip accordingly. Happy Roads app will feature popular nearby tourist spots and places for short excursions as well.

For a faster launch, the company has teamed up with Bharti Axa general insurance, PolicyBazar for providing travel insurance and car rental company Zoom Car, for cars and drivers. For car wash and wax solutions, it has signed a contract with 3M. The app will update customers on the services provided. The customers using Happy Roads will be able to use these facilities on the network they seek to travel. This will further help the company in connecting customers and will boost their loyalty programs.

The app is currently in pilot phase, so digital marketing for the app will begin post-March. Among its 50 million customers, 24 million belong to urban cities, BPCL will tap these customers to further spread the word. Adding to that, the official stated,

We see this start-up with a lot of potential as no one is giving you customized services like curated content, car services, trip advisory and insurance in one package. Currently we are planning to throw open the app for users in the South. And depending on the feedback, we would take it forward to other zones. We are trying to also work on details wherein users can use the app within cities for navigation.

The testing was initiated on the Bengaluru-Coorg road this month. Moreover, BPCL’s fuel retail outlets on the highways have also been spruced up and beautified for users. While travelling, the users will get updates regarding nearby bank ATMs, restrooms, pharmacies or restaurants as well.

BPCL is currently in talks with en route hotels and restaurants in order to expand its ecosystem and services for HappyRoads. On the endeavours by BPCL,  an assistant vice-president with a domestic brokerage said,

Though we don’t anticipate private fuel retailers like Reliance Industries, Essar Oil and Shell acquiring over 10% of the market share, we see the oil marketing companies fighting among themselves to expand and retain their market shares. Initiatives like Happy Roads clearly reflect the market condition. However, it remains to be seen how much it will help BPCL in customer retention.

It is yet to see how well the gas company justifies its fresh venture, however, with fuel deregulation in place, competition in the market is obvious.

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