2020 has been a surprising year - masks & gloves are a common sight, WFH a lifestyle, and virtual gatherings a part of the routine. However, as India gradually unlocks, more and more people are now ready to step out and explore domestic hidden gems, and thereby, turning the new normal into a way of life - while ensuring personal safety and hygiene. According to OYO Hotels & Homes, the world’s leading hospitality chain, after staying home bound for months on end, this Diwali, Indians are preferring inter-state road trips and beach destinations.
According to OYO’s Diwali booking trends, Jaipur tops the charts as the most popular leisure destination among travellers this Diwali, followed by the cities of Kochi, Goa, Visakhapatnam, and Varanasi. The data further highlights Jaipur to be the most popular choice among travellers across North India, with an influx of tourists from nearby cities like Delhi NCR and Lucknow. Across South India, travellers from Chennai and Bangalore are heading out on road trips to Kochi in Kerala, the southwest coast of India. Goa, India’s beach capital, on the other hand, is attracting travellers from across the country. The majority of bookings are from Pune, followed by Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Commenting on this trend, Harshit Vyas, SVP & COO - Franchise Business, OYO India & South Asia, said, “The festive season combined with gradual unlocks has resulted in a surge in leisure travel since September 2020. As states open up their borders to welcome tourists, OYO and the entire hospitality industry, continue to offer safe experiences that lead to rising consumer confidence among travellers. As per our Diwali booking trends, with social distancing becoming a way of life and people opting for safer travel options, road trips are here to stay, therefore, leading to an increase in inter-state travel during Diwali and the upcoming holiday season this year. The demand for leisure travel is led by India’s popular tourist destinations - Jaipur, followed by Kochi and Goa. We expect leisure destinations to continue gaining momentum in the coming months with rising consumer optimism for travel. We would also like to express our gratitude towards our asset partners and all employees who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we stand ready to welcome travellers safely once again.”
Sharing his insights on the comeback of leisure travel, Yatish Jain, Head of Online Revenue and Marketing, South Asia - OYO Hotels & Homes said, “Rising optimism among travellers across India this holiday season is a welcome change for the tourism and hospitality ecosystem. As per our consumer use cases, 57% of respondents wish to travel for leisure, with approx. 61% respondents stating that they had already decided the destination for their coming vacation. This is a testament to the steady comeback of travel in the next few months, however, while doing so, 67% of these consumers are also seeking safe stays. Understanding that safety is the consumer’s topmost priority, we at OYO will continue our efforts to ensure safe and hygienic practices with our Contactless Check-ins and Sanitised Before Your Eyes initiatives. To further put things in perspective, as per our Diwali booking trends, we’re happy to share that, we’re witnessing the intent to book is at almost 100% levels as compared to Pre-Covid for consumers visiting on the OYO platform and the traffic is at over 50%. As more and more travellers are exploring local hidden gems resulting in a boost in domestic travel, we are keen to support this trend with our robust presence across 28 states and 8 UTs. As we move forward, we are confident that the current trend will continue with month-on-month growth in 2HFY21.”
As per the overall travel trends across India, between April 2020 and September 2020, observe an uptick in bookings across business destinations including Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Kolkata. On the other hand, among leisure cities, OYO’s booking data also highlights that some cities like Shimla, Manali, Munnar, Ooty and Gangtok that didn’t enjoy high demand compared to other tourist hotspots during pre-COVID days are now increasingly showing positive signs of rising bookings since September 2020. In Shimla, OYO observed a whopping 280% month-on-month growth in bookings for September 2020. Additionally, according to OYO’s recent consumer survey, while there’s a surge in demand for leisure travel across the country, 80% of users are searching for sanitised stays, while 46% of users seek regulation related information while planning their next travel.
To ensure travellers have a safe and pleasant experience, OYO recently launched two initiatives with Sonu Sood, OYO’s asset owner and brand ambassador. ‘Sanitised Before Your Eyes’ is an on-request initiative through which OYO’s guests can request the hotel’s on-ground staff to sanitise high touch spots or frequently touched surfaces right in front of their eyes. The second initiative -‘Contactless Check-in’ enables guests with a faster and safer digital check-in experience, wherever, whenever, thereby eliminates the need for physical contact on arrival.