Kavinder Singh, MD & CEO at Mahindra Holidays confirms that as hotels received a go-ahead to resume operations under Unlock 5.0 guidelines, weekends at resorts in states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka are all sold out.
“Occupancies are in excess of 80% on weekends, 60% in case of weekdays. There has been a real uptick in occupancies in the month of September,” he points out.
Meanwhile, high-end hotel chain Chalet Hotels which has its base mostly in metro cities is witnessing occupancies up to 20-30% of pre-COVID levels, attributable primarily to the Vande Bharat Mission which pumped in a lot of business for city hotels.
“Property projects picking up pace is a driving force. Like in Mumbai itself, the 5G port, metro construction brings a significant amount of business for us. Especially with all the containment measures, many companies had their staff residing in our hotels,” adds Rajneesh Malhotra, VP- Operations & Asset Management, Chalet Hotels.
For Vista Rooms – an accommodation aggregator of holiday homes, homestays and luxury villas – the bookings returned to 40% in July and shot up to 70% of pre-COVID levels in September, primarily driven by the concept of workcation.
The unpredictability of the future hasn’t stopped people to preplan their vacations as long as they aren’t charged a cancellation fee.
“People want to travel but they also need that flexibility of cancellation – considering anything can potentially happen and we offer that without hesitation,” explains Ankita Sheth, Co-founder of Vista Rooms.
For online travel platform MakeMyTrip, last one week has seen a fructification of the latent demand that the company was witnessing in terms of search trends.
COO Vipul Prakash describes in detail, “Trend right now is the driveway trips, a short span of not more than 4-5 hours to reach the destination in the comfort of customers’ own cars. Three-fourths of our bookings are to drivable distances. From Delhi, staycation and fully-sold out hotspots are Nainital, Shimla, Manali and Mussoorie.”
When it comes to international travel, Sankalp Agarwal, Cofounder & CEO, Traveltriangle.com says that Maldives & Dubai are the favorite holiday destinations at the moment.
He reiterates that even though the trend of mini-holiday and staycation is booming on the back of the pent-up demand, customers are also not shying away from converting these into month-long vacations.
On the issue of safety and hygiene when it comes to city hotels, Traveltriangle’s data shows that customers are willing to take a leap of faith when it comes to hotels & villas situated at the outskirts along with considering the brand value of the particular hotel chain. “Customer is extra-cautious,” says Agarwal.
International travel will take a significant amount of time to bounce back, but according to the industry players, it’s quite clear that Indians won’t be held back by the deadly virus when it comes to taking a break.