Home / Brand Stories / Demand for workcation packages pick up as WFH-induced stress continues

New Delhi: With companies extending the work-from-home (WFH) routine as India leads the daily virus infection cases globally, consumers have started looking at workcation options. Often these destinations are within few hours of driving distance from cities nestled in remote hilly or seaside areas. Typically targeted at young working professionals, the workcations trend is gradually picking up as the five-month-long work-from-home routine has taken its toll on physical and mental well-being.

Barely three hours away from Mumbai, Sula Vineyards in Nashik, for instance, has added 20 new rooms to its 32-room heritage vineyard resort—The Source. It is offering five- and 10-day-long workcation packages at Beyond by Sula and The Source at Sula, with a starting price from 5,250 per night, including breakfast, internet and power back-up.

Zostel, budget hospitality chain, has been offering value-driven long-stay workcation that can span over 15, 21 and 30 days at its various operational properties since 13 July. The 15-day dormitory package starts at 4,000 and the 30-day dorm package starts at 7,000, while the 15-day private-room package starts at 10,000 and the 30-day private package starts for 18,000. To maintain social-distancing norms, a six-bed dormitory now accommodates only three people while small-sized dorms have been converted into private rooms where a small group of friends travelling together can stay.

“Millennials living in metros such as Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru are looking for a getaway between 10 and 30 days with an average cost which is equivalent to their monthly living cost. Since, we have been able to match this cost, the demand of long stays has steadily increased," Deep Banka, sales head at Zostel.

Karnataka (Gokarna), Rajasthan (Udaipur) and Uttarakhand (Mukteshwar) emerged as top destinations for workcation on Zostel.

Hospitality chains such as Fab Hotels and Mahindra Holidays are also offering workcation packages.

Meanwhile, global hospitality group Accor is offering workcation packages across its brands. Novotel Goa Resort and Spa, and Novotel Goa Candolim are offering packages starting from 6,799 (excluding taxes) inclusive of all meals, everyday yoga sessions, cooking sessions (in a four-night stay package), in-house activity for adults (in a five-night stay package).

Grand Mercure Mysore's workcation package is priced at 3,699 along with taxes with inclusions like 20% discount on food and soft beverages, breakfast and one main meal (lunch or dinner), cooking and baking workshops, mocktail sessions and towel art workshops.

Kerrie Hannaford, vice-president, commercial, Accor Asia and South Asia, said, “Gradually, as hotels will take time to see footfalls for vacations, ‘Work from Hotel’ is another avenue for us to generate revenues."

However, the revenues from such products cannot immediately mitigate the losses since March when a nationwide lockdown was announced in the country. “…but it is easily managing the current operational costs. We are not back to 100% in revenue but if this trend continues, we will be good in the next few months," said Zostel’s Banke.

Mahindra Holidays launched workcation packages on 14 August across nine Club Mahindra resorts in Coorg, Kanatal, Mussoorie, Corbett, Naukuchiatal, Udaipur, Kanha, Gir and Puducherry. Currently, 80% of its resorts in India are within driveable distance from cities.

"Increasing number of organizations believe that ‘work from home’ concept is an alternative even after the covid situation begins to improve. Furthermore, young working professionals have always sought for a work-life balance that combines pleasure with work. Keeping all this in mind, we believe workcations are here to stay," said Vivek Khanna, chief operating officer, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd.

Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at Care Ratings, believes that it is a fairly short-term measure by hospitality firms which can maintain a part of their operational costs. “However, I don’t see it becoming a sustainable consumer trend in the long run," he added.

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