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NEW DELHI : With companies extending work from home indefinitely—even permanently—amid spiralling coronavirus infections in India, employees have started heading out for workcations.

Often these destinations are within a few hours of driving distance from crowded cities, spots nestling in open and clean hilly or seaside areas. ‘Work from hotel’ is how one entrepreneur described it.

Typically favoured by young professionals, the trend is gradually picking up, and resorts have been quick to tap into it. Months of working from home has taken its toll on employees’ physical and mental well-being as India’s daily count of virus infections climbs to the top of the table.

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 workcation packages at Beyond by Sula and The Source at Sula starting from 5,250 per night, including breakfast, internet and power back-up.

Zostel, a budget hospitality chain, is offering value-driven long-stay workcation that can span over 15, 21 and 30 days at its properties. The 15-day dormitory package starts at 4,000 while the 30-day option starts at 7,000. Packages for private rooms start at 10,000 for 15 days and 18,000 for 30 days. To maintain social distancing norms, a six-bed dormitory accommodates three people while small-sized dorms have been converted into private rooms.

“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 for long stays has steadily increased," said Deep Banka, sales head at Zostel.

Gokarna (Karnataka), Udaipur (Rajasthan) and Mukteshwar (Uttarakhand) are among the top destinations for workcation on Zostel.

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

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.

Global hospitality group Accor is also offering workcation packages across its brands. Novotel Goa Resorts and Spa and Novotel Goa Candolim are offering packages starting from 6,799 (excluding taxes) inclusive of all meals, daily yoga sessions, cooking sessions (in a 4-night stay package), and in-house activity for adults.

Grand Mercure Mysore’s package is priced at 3,699 with offers like a 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 suffered because of the lockdown. “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 Banka.

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