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We will be heavy on digital in our communication: Ashish Dhruva of InterMiles

In an interaction with, Ashish Dhruva, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Customer Engagement, InterMiles, talks about how they managed through the pandemic and lockdown period, and discusses the brand’s marketing strategy

Ashish Dhruva

The travel industry and tourism industry has been one of the hardest-hit sectors across the world ever since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020. With more than a year of lockdowns, uncertainties and different travel restrictions in different countries, many companies have innovated their products and their approaches to suit the current situation.

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InterMiles, which recently rebranded from Jet Privilege, has introduced different products to keep the audiences engaged in the non-travel period. “The impact was huge for everyone in the travel industry, especially for Q1. Fortunately, the InterMiles model is not too dependent only on one category. There are multiple lines of categories of business. We had a very interesting product that took off immediately, which is our cobrand business. It is a very interesting model where we have partnerships with three banks, and co-brand cards are available,” said Ashish Dhruva, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Customer Engagement, InterMiles.

He said since travel took a backseat, they focused on other relevant categories such as shopping and food. He said to engage customers, and to stay relevant in the minds of people, they launched interesting and relevant products, including quizzes and gamification on its app. They posted regular blogs on social media and websites to attract frequent travellers, which resulted in huge traction.

“After that when the recovery started in October, we made sure we had created a very precise and very up-to-date playbook in terms of how things will play out. So looking at the fact that digital is going to increase and online is going to take a new share, we added new products, apart from the InterMiles offerings. We added a Digi store, which allows you to buy vouchers of close to 100+ brands. We introduced 25,000 restaurants where you could pay your bills and dine at that point in time. We added new lines of business categories. Our app was showing great success in terms of engagement,” said Dhruva.

Speaking about their marketing plans, Dhruva said they used their vast database to target the right audience. He said they will go strong on digital if things are in a good shape.

“If I have 10 products, does everyone need all your 10 products? I believe that those days when you spent crores on media and then hoped and prayed the consumer comes to you are over. As marketers, we are responsible to the organisation for every dollar. We believe in defining our audience. We have a very rich database of nearly 10 million customers. We have rich information in terms of what people have transacted and searched because of our legacy and use that information to allow the right offering for the right audience at the right time.”

He said at present they are sensitive to the situation but will spend heavily on digital once things settle by Q2. “We don't want to push a product; we want to spend money in a manner that it is relevant to the organisation and the consumer. We would be slightly digital-heavy in terms of trying to reach and communicate to our customers when the time comes,” he said. 

Dhruva said the response has been impressive ever since they rebranded to InterMiles from Jet Privilege. He said the rebranding is a continuous process and before they announced the new brand, they had to make sure all their product offerings were right in place. He said when the pandemic struck, they were better ready as a brand and figured out what consumers will like. “We are making sure that it's not just an identity communication and we're not just telling everybody about InterMiles but what InterMiles brings to the table for you. Rebranding is not just about announcing something but announcing it in a way that clearly articulates to a consumer what’s in it for them, what new things have been added. It is a three-stage programme,” he added.

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