Travel firms witness spike in bookings in festival season2 min read . Updated: 26 Oct 2020, 03:20 PM IST
- Fun outdoor activities such as nature camps, national parks and hiking trails are popular among Indians travelling with friends and families
NEW DELHI: With easing of inter-state restrictions and states lifting mandatory covid test requirement, an increasing number of travellers are spending time at tourist destinations in the festival season. Online and offline travel operators have witnessed a spike in enquiries and booking.
Yatra.com, for instance, said they are witnessing an increase of about 40% in booking enquires for the festival season with travelers now moving from essential to leisure travel.
"During this festive season, we have seen a spike in bookings being made to destinations such as Himachal, Uttarakhand, Varanasi, Ranchi, Lucknow and Kolkata as travelers plan trip to their hometowns or nearby destinations for leisure around the weekends of festivals such as Dussehra or Diwali," said a Yatra.com spokesperson.
People travelling with family are opting for a minimum of four-night holiday preferring to stay at homestays, cottages, luxury hotels. About 74% of individuals are opting for 4- and 5-star hotels at a drivable distance, as per Yatra.com's data.
Resort chain Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India said more members are holidaying in its properties across India in October over the same month last year despite the fact that only 52 out of 69 resorts are currently operational.
"There's a high occupancy in locations such as Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Himachal and Uttarakhand. In fact, over the weekend we are almost sold out across these locations. Most of our resort properties are outside the main city with big rooms and common areas which is offering travellers a sense of safety," said Vivek Khanna, COO, Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd.
Thomas Cook India said it is witnessing a demand for small group/family breaks - eager to catch up on all that was missed during the period of the lockdown. "Further, we are also seeing demand from the honeymoon segment who, due to the lockdown and restrictions, had their honeymoon plans postponed. We are also seeing growing demand for bookings that are at short notice - between 5-10 days among those planning a domestic holiday," said Rajeev Kale, president & country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
Gen Z and millennials are showing strong inclination to explore adventure and nature based holidays with their families. Fun outdoor activities such as nature camps, national parks and hiking trails are popular among Indians travelling with friends and families. SOTC Travel said that they have seen strong demand for Ranthambore for the month of October and November with the wilderness packages. Other popular wildlife reserves include Kanha, Gir and Jim Corbett National Park.
"With consumers opting for non-standard/eclectic accommodation such as colonial bungalow, plantation villas (coffee /tea estates), heritage properties, to tap into the demand for non-standard/unique journeys, we have introduced India’s Hidden Gems package starting at ₹11, 500," said Daniel D’souza, president and country head, leisure, SOTC Travel.
A set of travellers are also looking at private vacation homes with luxury villa chain SaffronStays receiving twice the number of bookings they had last year during the festive season.
"Now, people prefer booking villas at drive-to distances because they are seen as a safer option. Unlike hotels where one can’t use the pool at the moment, travellers can freely do so at a rented villa. We’ve seen an increase in demand for smaller homes - anywhere between one to three bedrooms as well in drive-to distances from Mumbai including Lonavala, Khandala and Alibaug," said Devendra Parulekar, founder, SaffronStays.