Home / News / India /  Luxury holiday home rentals rebound as second wave ebbs

NEW DELHI : Affluent Indians are choosing to rent private holiday homes to ensure privacy and hygiene as the easing of lockdowns in many states following a decline in covid-19 cases spurs them to start travelling again.

Companies such as SaffronStays, Vista Rooms and Lohono Stays, who manage luxury holiday homes across India, said they are seeing a jump in demand when compared to the period prior to the second wave of the pandemic, especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Kerala and Ooty.

Devendra Parulekar, founder, SaffronStays, which manages more than 150 luxury rental properties, said the number of bookings in June by check-ins is at par with the February-March numbers. There has been a 300% sequential jump in bookings in June amid a decline in cases.

“July is looking good too owing to the monsoon season. A large part of the population is partly and also completely vaccinated and more comfortable travelling to our fully-staffed and serviced private villas that are covid-ready," he said, adding that safety remains the top concern among customers who are even willing to pay for covid tests of workers at the booked property.

In 2020, SaffronStays clocked 20 crore in total sales, which it aims to double this year. It’s adding 5-7 homes each month to its network.

Mumbai-based Karnesh Mehta, for instance, took his family for a week-long break in Lonavala. He booked a private luxury villa that came with an on-site chef. The 47-year-old businessman, who deals in real estate, finds independent properties secure where his family can rest and recuperate.

“I have old parents who have not stepped out in the last year and a half. I would not feel safe taking them to a hotel, even if it’s a five-star property, where common areas are used by everyone. Here, it was just six members of my family with two staff who were tested covid-19 negative. It was a peaceful getaway," he said.

With an average ticket size of 60,000 to 1 lakh per night for such luxury private holiday homes that can accommodate up to six people, customers are booking them for at least four to five days.

“Our clients are looking for homes that can host all their family members at one place; ample space for kids to play, expansive lawn area to host mini soirees and great connectivity all throughout including the pool deck so that working members/guests can operate from any part of the home that they wish to," said Dhimaan Shah, co-founder and COO, Lohono Stays by Isprava.

Backed by Godrej, Burman and Piramal family offices, Lohono Stays manages more than 90 properties. It plans to more than double the inventory on its platform this fiscal.

“We also ensure IT infrastructure to support the work-from-home culture," Shah said.

Firms are also getting special requests for services such as barbeque, spa, private cooks and butlers.

“Another trend is that the demand for wellness or spa facilities has gone up considerably. Preferences for private pools and home chefs are at an all-time high as well. Guests are now preferring to have 24/7 assistant in the villas," said Ankita Sheth, co-founder Vista Rooms.

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