Introducing Weekend Getaways

In any lifetime, a weekend is a precious commodity — a time to take a break, with friends, with family or with that special someone. A weekend is a time away from the grind of workday routine. Be it heading out from Delhi to the snow-clad valleys of Chail, or driving down from Mumbai to experience the pristine beaches in Daman, or escaping the hustle and bustle of Bangalore to explore the sylvan surroundings of Bandipur. A weekend getaway is the essential ‘power-nap’ between our hectic and stressful work weeks.

Deciding on a weekend getaway is challenging. Apart from selecting a location that’s within a preferred driving distance or offers a specific experience, the lack of information on available options is a hurdle. Offbeat destinations, in particular, have several resorts tucked away in the lap of nature and aren’t easily discoverable in the online world.

Cleartrip wants to take the stress and the friction out of weekend travel. We want weekend escapes to be the easy and happy stress-release valve you deserve. Today, we’re thrilled to announce Weekend Getaways as an extension to our Hotel product.

Search for getaways from the city of origin

Let us know the city you’ll be traveling from and we’ll take care of the rest. The most popular origin cities are listed upfront for your convenience.

Search based on drive time or destination

The results page provides a listing of hotels spread across various nearby destinations within a 10 hour drive time from the origin city. If you’re looking for a specific destination, our ‘Destination’ filter will help winnow the choices.

If you’re keen to get in touch with some wildlife on the next long weekend, instead of driving down to the beach, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got a theme-based filter that narrows your search based on what you want to do.

Select a hotel thats perfect for your needs

Traveling with your family and looking for hotels that are child friendly? Our advanced filters help you select hotels that offer the exact experience you’re looking for. If you’re interested in booking a hotel that’s either on the ocean front or offers serene views of a lake or a river, the best options are just clicks away.

Something for everyone

We’ve built Getaways to be beautifully responsive, so no matter what device you use, you’ll never be short of options.

At this moment, Weekend Getaways serves Indian cities only. We’re just getting started and will continue to expand the choice of hotels and scope of destinations to offer more short breaks over time. Do give Weekend Getaways a whirl and let us know what you think.

Cleartrip is back on Windows Phone

We’ll start with a confession – Cleartrip has been AWOL from Windows Phone for a long time. The first mobile app we launched was for Windows Phone, but then our focus shifted to iOS and Android and we didn’t have the bandwidth to do justice to the platform.

Today, all that changes. Cleartrip is back on Windows Phone with a huge update. Here are the headline items we’ve introduced in v2.

A brand new Panorama screen
We’ve introduced a brand new Panorama screen, that gives you one tap access to your recent searches, upcoming trips and stored cards.

International flights
Now our Windows Phone users can book international flights with 500 airlines at their fingertips. We’ve also added support for major global currencies, with support for our customers in the Middle East (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia & UAE) to make payments in their local currency. Customers from other countries will see an INR conversion on the payment page.

1-touch bookings with Expressway
Making payments is now effortless. If you’re an existing Expressway user, just sign into your Cleartrip Account and your stored cards will be available for use within the app. If you’re not an Expressway user yet, you can set up one-touch flight bookings from within the app.

Saved travellers in the app
Say goodbye to typing the same names again and again, as we introduce deeper integration between the Cleartrip Account and the Windows Phone app. If you’ve saved traveller profiles in your Cleartrip Account, all those profiles are now available when you book with the app.

We’ve just restarted our journey with Windows Phone. We know we have a long way to go. And we’d love to hear your feedback on what else you’d like to see in the Windows Phone app. So download the Cleartrip app from the Windows Phone store, and let us know what you think on mobile@cleartrip.com.

Introducing Cleartrip Wallet

Travel plans can change frequently; and when they do there’s always refunds involved. Cleartrip processes all refunds within 24 hours, but that doesn’t mean you get your money back in 24 hours — it takes between 2 to 6 business days for the refund to actually be credited to your account. That’s really slow. And painful: refunds are the second-largest source of complaints from customers.

68% of Cleartrip customers who cancel go on to make a new booking almost immediately after they cancel. Since the refund money takes days and days to arrive, customers are stuck without the ability to use the money they already paid for their new booking. And since the delay is caused by the processes of the banks and credit card issuers, it has been out of Cleartrip’s control.

Until today.

Today we’re thrilled to bring our customers instant refunds with Cleartrip Wallet. Starting now, you can choose to have your money refunded instantly to your Cleartrip Wallet. You can then use that money immediately or at anytime in the future. Money in your Cleartrip Wallet never expires.

Request a refund to your Cleartrip Wallet

When canceling a booking you will see the option to apply the refund to your Cleartrip Wallet or to your original mode of payment.

Request your refund to your Wallet

Using the money in your Cleartrip Wallet

If you have money in your Cleartrip Wallet, it can be used when you’re making a new booking. The amount shows up automagically on the payment step. If there’s enough to pay for the entire booking, you can make a hassle-free payment straight from Cleartrip Wallet. If the money in your Cleartrip Wallet isn’t enough for the payment, you combine it with any other form of payment (like credit/debit cards or net banking).

Make full payment with Wallet

Combine Wallet with another payent mode

Keep track of your transactions

You get complete access to all your transactions in your Cleartrip Account. Just click the Wallet tab in the sidebar menu to see details of your 10 most recent transactions using Wallet. You can also download your complete transaction history as a PDF document.

Track all your transactions

At the moment, Cleartrip Wallet only works with flight and hotel purchases. Credits from cancellations can be applied using our desktop site as well as iOS and Android apps right away. Payments with Cleartrip Wallet can only be made through our desktop site at this time. We’re just getting started and will continue to expand the scale and scope of Cleartrip Wallet. Meanwhile do try out Wallet and share your feedback on what you like and what you don’t. Drop a mail to wallet@cleartrip.com or leave a comment here.

Cleartrip comes to the iPad

It’s been 2 years since Cleartrip came to the iOS platform. Over these two years, we’ve been hard at work making Cleartrip for iPhone as comprehensive as possible. And the recent addition of in-app cancellations has made it one of the most powerful travel tools in your pocket.

Today, we bring all that power and Cleartrip’s trademark simplicity to the iPad.

Cleartrip for iPad is beautifully adapted and compliments the core design language that we’ve established with our iPhone App. With a larger screen, this takes the Cleartrip experience on iOS to a whole new level.

Under the hood, it’s a universal app which means that all core functionality between the iPhone & iPad apps are shared; with a customised user experience for each screen size. This also allows us to simultaneously release features on both platforms. There’s a lot to share here so stay tuned for another post that will detail out the design process & front-end architecture.

Our trademark ‘Touch-n-go’ search form & flight booking experience

A full screen map view if you’re looking to stay in a specific neighbourhood. Get a snapshot of a hotel in what we’d like to call ‘Gravity View’. It captures all the highlights that will make comparing hotels a breeze. So sit back and swipe through all your options and discover new properties.

Apart from Train bookings, Cleartrip for iPad ships with all other features that you’ve been enjoying on the iPhone.

Do give it a spin and share your feedback with us in the comments or email us at mobile@cleartrip.com. We’ll be looking forward to it.

Available on the App Store

Announcing in-app cancellations for flights, hotels & trains

At Cleartrip, we keep an ear out for what our customers want from our products. When it comes to our portfolio of mobile products, one of the most requested features has been the ability to cancel travel bookings through the apps. While this is useful for flight and hotel bookings, it is especially so for trains, where the cancellation penalty is low, and availability is restricted. So it makes sense to book tickets in advance and then cancel if your plans change closer to the travel date.

Today, we’re announcing the availability of in-app cancellations for your flight, hotel and train bookings through Cleartrip’s Android and iOS apps. We’re proud to say that this is one more in a long line of firsts from Cleartrip — we’re the first online travel company in India (if not the world) to offer cancellations in mobile apps.

Designed with Cleartrip’s trademark simplicity and ease-of-use, in-app cancellations are a walk in the park. Tap on any of your upcoming trips in the Trips section and you’ll see a Cancellations button above the trip details.

Tapping the Cancellations button takes you into the cancellation flow. For flights and trains, you have the added option to select which passengers or sectors you wish to cancel.

You can then review the cancellation options you’ve chosen and the refund you’ll get, before finally cancelling and seeing the cancellation confirmation screen.

Once you’ve cancelled a trip, you can of course see the cancelled trip details by opening the trip in the app.

So next time you need to cancel a ticket, do it through the Cleartrip app. And let us know what you think by writing to us at mobile@cleartrip.com. And if you haven’t used the Cleartrip apps yet, now’s the time to download them.

Get out and vote

Over the past ten years, most of us have expressed disappointment with where our country is going — GDP growth rate is in steady decline, corruption is all-encompassing, inflation shows no signs of abating, law and order are a joke, crimes against women are excused by politicians — the list of complaints goes on. The media have dubbed it “India’s Lost Decade”.

We’ve been a free and democratic country for almost 67 years now, but we’ve forgotten that freedom isn’t free. We all want change, but change doesn’t come just by wishing for it. This is what the democratic process is for, so that all of us can be the agents of the change we want.

There’s lots of reasons not to vote, but if you want change, you need to make it happen yourself.

Get out and vote.

What's your excuse?

Collections is now even better

Since we launched Collections a few months ago, we’ve been hard at work to make it more useful for travel inspiration and planning. Today we’re happy to announce a bunch of enhancements to make Collections even better.

Collections now has new stories

We launched Collections with the promise of adding more inspiration over the coming months. Today we have added the next set of 5 new stories and, going forward, will add new ones every week. Just so you don’t have to wait very long for newer stories. This week we give you Kerala’s best experiences and the best hotels in Kerala to live those experiences. There’s also something on planning your honeymoon in Thailand and the most romantic hotels in Thailand that you must consider for your honeymoon. Finally we also give you India’s best emerging beach destinations so next time you have more options than you are aware of now.

Cleartrip Collections - new collections

Search for your interests

We now have 50 Collections. And with more to come every week, it becomes difficult to discover new Collections or find the old ones you want to get back to. Today we’re solving that problem by adding the ability to search Collections. You can search for destinations (e.g. Goa, Maldives) or for travel themes (e.g. Beach, Romantic), activities (e.g. Snorkelling, Shopping) or just any word you want. You can even combine destinations, themes and activities to narrow your search — try India adventure or India food.

Cleartrip Collections - collections search

Get new Collections delivered to your inbox

With new Collections being added weekly, how do you keep up with what’s new? No need to visit the site every week to check for new Collections. Just subscribe with your email id and we will deliver the new Collections straight to your inbox. And, in keeping with Cleartrip’s stance against spamming, we will send no more than one email per week. If there are no significant updates in a week, there will be no mail. Also, if you subscribe to Collections, that’s the only e-mails we’ll send you. No marketing e-mails will come your way by doing this.

Cleartrip Collections - newsletter

More relevant information, when you need it

Collections now intelligently give you only information that is valuable, in the context of the unit in question. Looking at a hotel? You get the star rating and the starting room rates. For weekend getaways you get the drive time to get there. You get hotel prices around an attraction. For cities you get hotel rates in the city and the airfare to get there. You’ll even get insights into the current weather in cities or the nearest airport. You get all these without having to leave the page and wander off elsewhere. For more information and planning you can click through to get all hotel and air options to make your travel come true.

Cleartrip Collections - metadata

Because there’s always a way

For Collections that are associated with a specific destination we are also adding travel information that will help you make the trip happen. You can easily check the return airfare along with hotel stay for 4 nights and the estimated total for the trip (the airfare is for a single passenger for now). You can also easily open up our Flight + Hotel product to research other options and play around with dates for a better estimate. We will also give you additional routes and transportation options from Waytogo that you can explore.

Cleartrip Collections - make it happen

Related Collections

Many of the Collections are related to each other — like Srinagar’s top tourist attractions and Srinagar’s most charming hotels. Even the two Kerala and two Thailand collections we published today are related. Now when you are seeing one collection, you can easily click through to other related Collections. The idea of having related Collections was to help you plan a better and more complete trip.

Cleartrip Collections - related collections

We’re really excited to push out these new changes to Collections and can’t wait to hear your thoughts. We’d love to hear what you want us to do to make Collections even more awesome. Tell us what Collections you want to see or share your experiences and tips on our current collections. Drop a line to collections@cleartrip.com.

A video for Cleartrip Mobile

One of the harder challenges in app marketing is conveying the experience of using an app to people who’ve never used it. You can show the interactions, but how do you convey the feeling of joy that comes with using a well-designed app?

It was with this objective in mind that we embarked on a project a couple of months ago to create a video for our apps. At Cleartrip, we take great pride in our product design, especially of our apps. The challenge was to make a video that lives up to that design.

So we took inspiration from the smart folks over at Wunderlist, and decided to let our products do the talking. After countless iterations, here’s the result of our efforts. We recommend watching it in HD to really see the screens pop.

Trains and Hotels come to Cleartrip for iPhone

Earlier this month, we released two upgrades to Cleartrip for Android — first, with the addition of hotels; followed by the return of Indian Railways bookings. Obviously, we didn’t want to keep our iOS users waiting too long before they could share in all the fun…

So, today we’re thrilled to announce that the ability to book trains for over 4,000 stations in India and over 300,000 hotels across the world, comes to Cleartrip for iPhone in a single power-packed release.

We’d like to present a quick walk-through for Trains and Hotels in Cleartrip for iPhone.

Trains

The best of iOS 7′s radical new design combines with Cleartrip’s own spit and polish in version 4.0 of Cleartrip for iPhone. Cleartrip for iPhone is the first fully native app to offer IRCTC train bookings on iOS devices. Needless to say, it is also the smoothest iOS app for booking train tickets with your iPhone. What’s more, as of this moment, there are ZERO additional Cleartrip fees for booking train tickets from our apps (iOS and Android).

Syncing Cleartrip and IRCTC accounts

In compliance with guidelines issued by IRCTC, a one-time sync is required to connect your Cleartrip and IRCTC accounts before you can make train bookings with us. If you haven’t synced your accounts already, you can sync them from within the app (as a fair warning, we’d like to add that this step can sometimes take a while or fail due to communication problems with IRCTC’s servers).

Availability of service: Due to restrictions imposed by IRCTC, train availability check and booking facilities are not available between 0800—1200 hrs IST and again between 2330–0030 hrs IST everyday. Tatkal tickets are available from within the app, but only after 12 noon.

Hotels

Taking advantage of iOS’ amazing geo-location capabilities, a “Show hotels near me” button atop the hotel search form brings up a list of hotels nearest to your current location, sorted by distance and available for immediate check-in. Same-day and next-day check-ins are eligible for amazing last-minute deals with Cleartrip’s exclusive Quickeys rate hotels.

The hotel search supports search by specific cities, landmarks, locations and even hotel names. Check-in and check-out dates are optional as Cleartrip for iPhone supports dateless hotel searches because just taking a quick look at hotels in a destination shouldn’t be so cumbersome.

Search results

Search results for hotels can be viewed as a list or on a map-view with controls to switch between the two views available at the bottom-left of the display. Hotels in the results can be easily sorted and filtered by a variety of parameters, so you can fine-tune the results to show only what suits you best.

Hotel Details

Tapping a hotel name will bring you to an overview screen for that hotel, designed to give you all the information you need at a glance. Additional tabs are also available from the overview screen for photos, traveler reviews, hotel info and location.

Expressway — Hassle-free bookings with your saved cards

If you’re a frequent traveler, you should use Expressway to make easier and faster bookings with one-touch payments. If you’ve saved your card details with Expressway, your saved cards details are automatically available while making payments hotels, trains and flights.

So give it a whirl and share your feedback with us in the comments or email us at mobile@cleartrip.com. We’ll be looking forward to hearing from you.

Introducing pay@hotel – book here, pay there

Earlier this year, we launched a large-scale revamp of our Hotel search product with the goal of making it dead-simple for you to find that perfect hotel. Today, we’re taking that a big step further with pay@hotel — we’re making the hotel booking process completely effortless by getting rid of the online payment process and letting you pay directly at the hotel during your stay.

Starting today, you can make hotel bookings on Cleartrip without paying a thing at the time of booking. Book your hotels in seconds without having to fuss around with credit cards or net banking. Your booking will be guaranteed and you will make payment directly to the hotel during your stay.

Book here, pay there

Hotels that support the delayed payment feature can be easily identified in our search results — they are all marked with the new pay@hotel tag in the results. Just select the pay@hotel option when you make the booking process and you won’t be charged anything for booking the hotel. Your reservation is guaranteed and payment will be collected directly by the hotel during your stay.

For all pay@hotel bookings, we will call you a few days prior to check-in to reconfirm your travel plans. If your plans have changed and you want to cancel your booking, we immediately inform the hotel so they can release the rooms without charging you a cancellation penalty.

Why you’ll love it

At Cleartrip, we’ve always believed in comprehensiveness and choice, so the pay@hotel option is available for over 200,000 hotels in 40,000 cities around the world.

Our ‘what you see is what you pay’ policy ensures the price you see on Cleartrip is the price you pay at the hotel. No surprises.

In addition, our ‘assured best stay experience’ promise is that if you’re not happy with your room at the hotel, we’ll have it changed right away.

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.

We’re thrilled to be making the booking experience simple and seamless with pay@hotel. Give it a try and let us know what you think.