While international flights are taking a back seat, the domestic market is picking up. Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager – India, Sri Lanka & Maldives at Booking.com says, “We are seeing some early signs of recovery and an appetite for domestic travel in places where travel restrictions are easing. There has been an increase in domestic searches for destinations such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Bengaluru and Udaipur.”
And as people begin to gradually venture out after spending months indoors, there has been an increase in the number of booking enquiries and searches for short-term holidays or road trips to close-to-home destinations, majorly to places within 300kms from home city. Vipul Prakash - Chief Operating Officer MakeMyTrip, says, “We are seeing early signs of recovery for our holiday products including weekend getaways, Staycations and Daycations. Besides short-haul leisure trips that are making a comeback, we are also noticing a steady increase in bookings for Workation trips, that offer the comfort of logging in from a home in the hills or a seaside resort, away from the city.”
While workations may be picking up, business travel is showing on a slow incline. Raj Rishi Singh - Chief Business Officer MakeMyTrip, says, “The corporate travel segment is picking up slowly as professionals continue to work remotely and avoid in-person outstation meetings amid the uncertainty.”
Bookings within the corporate travel segment are influenced by multiple factors such as size of the corporate, type of the industry, caseloads in the travelling-to city and so on. Singh explains, “For instance, companies in the pharma & medical equipment business; and manufacturing and construction sectors are leading the recovery, while employers of FMCG, apparel and education services are waiting for the situation to improve further before resuming business travel –as many (corporates in these sectors) have already moved to fully or hybrid remote working models.”
Safety and sustainability
Health and safety is a crucial aspect of the information Indians are seeking in order to make informed decisions on travel and accommodation. And most of the industry are adopting new ways of going contact-less to minimise risk. “As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, tech-enabled, seamless yet no-touch travel has become the new reality. More than ever before, travelers are prioritizing and demanding safety and hygiene assurance throughout their travel journey. From choosing to travel in close-knit groups; to opting for self-drive trips; to preferring no-touch check-ins at airports and hotels and more – there is a natural re-prioritization of expectations around safety,” says Prakash.
But it’s not just their own safety travellers are aware of, a recent study showed that they are also choosing sustainable holidays. “From our research undertaken earlier this year, we have seen travellers becoming more conscious about the environmental impact they can have on destinations. 96% of Indian travellers identified sustainable travel as important to them, while 76% said they were more determined to make sustainable choices when looking to travel again in the future,” says Mehrotra.