‘Revenge Voyage’ a blow in the arm for India’s bleeding hospitality industry

After months of being locked inside as Covid raged outside, well-heeled Indians have decided home is not where their hearts are and are taking the road – and the sky – to smash the monotony of their existence inside.

There is even a term for it – “journey of revenge”. So when the states started to open up after a fierce second wave of Covid, people flocked to beachfront hotels, homestays on the hills, or even just a nearby resort. Anywhere except home and maybe not quite what the doctor ordered

Revenging themselves for so to speak months of anxiety, working from home, class or online classes and unable to meet even close relatives, they masked themselves, received their blows and wasted no time in go out.

“Advance bookings, measured by the share of bookings with travel dates longer than four weeks, are over 10% this year, compared to around 5% last year,” said Rajiv Subramanian, vice president of global online travel company Cleartrip. PTI.

“We expect the acceleration of the vaccination campaign and the reduction in the number of cases to catalyze the resumption of domestic travel over the next two quarters,” he added.

On the ground, images of people crowding destinations like Manali and lines of winding cars waiting to enter popular destinations like Shimla.

Read | Covid-19 tourism impact could exceed $ 4 trillion (UN report)

Whether it was a place of work, a stay, or a drive, people were clearly eager to travel and splurge as Covid cases in India dwindled, determined to catch up leisure days lost due to frequent shutdowns signaling a return to normalcy for the corona travel and hospitality industry. .

Noida-based IT professional Avinash Giri chose the peaceful town of Naggar, Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh, for his workstation.

“This is the first time we have traveled since the start of the pandemic. Things have been pathetic for the past two months. We were locked inside our homes, without even stepping out on the balcony. My wife and children. kids wanted to go out and I decided to choose this secluded area of ​​Naggar, ”he said.

“The view, the weather, everything is amazing here. The property I am staying in is new and economical – the food and other chores are well taken care of by the host. I will be staying at least a month at different locations around the world. ‘Himachal Pradesh, and our next possible destination is Manali,’ the 37-year-old added.

Giri and his wife are both partially vaccinated.

His “revenge” is good news for the bleeding hospitality industry.

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The GoStops budget hostel chain, the OYO multi-hotel chain and Airbnb, the online marketplace for organizing or providing accommodation, are among the companies that have seen a significant increase in the number of inquiries and of reservations made in June.

While GoStops, according to its founder and CEO Pallavi Agarwal, recorded a “1,000%” spike in its daily bookings; Airbnb India also observed “strong pent-up demand” for destinations far from metropolitan areas.

According to the findings of travel technology startup RateGain, New Delhi (2,943), Pune (2,113), Hyderabad (1,969), Bangalore (1,516) and Chennai (1,516) are the top five destinations with the most of rooms reserved from June 7 to 20.

“Leisure cities take a bit longer to rebound. However, they show great potential for the coming weeks. Leisure hot spots like Jaipur, Visakhapatnam and Agra are already seeing positive signs of a return from travel. We are noticing growing interest in hill stations within driving distance of major cities … (train stations) like Manali, Lonavala, Nainital, Shimla, Mysore … “said Yatish Jain, vice president and chief growth officer from OYO. Hotels and resorts are also profiting from the revenge travel trend.

WelcomeHeritage hotels, for example, have nearly “70-80%” occupancy at most of their hill properties, including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir.

Offering various innovative packages, such as ‘Work from Home’ and ‘Drivable Holidays’, their ‘Head for Hills’ package, which is proving to be a hit among tourists traveling from neighboring towns, starts from Rs 7,000.

Read also | FM Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Financial Support for Tourism Sector; 5 lakh tourists to get free visas

The trend is also benefiting seaside resorts close to large cities.

The Westin Gurgaon in New Delhi and the Westin Sohna Resort and Spa in nearby Gurgaon are seeing “25-30% growth” in week-to-week vacationers thanks to their stay offers.

“There is pent-up demand; and people want to get out of the humdrum and monotony of being at home, and look for safe ways to get back to some semblance of normal life. In fact, all of May, when the resort was down, we were getting questions asking when we would reopen the resort, ”said Rahul Puri, multi-property general manager of the Westin Hotel and Resort.

The package for two at the Westin Gurgaon and Westin Sohna Resort and Spa starts at Rs 6,000 and Rs 12,000 plus tax, respectively.

The car rental company Avis India also reported an increase in bookings from commuters traveling “solo, as a couple and with their family.”

“They are planning weekend getaways to the mountains or nearby towns like Delhi to Himachal or Jaipur. Or Bangalore to Ooty. Some also move to work in hills like Manali or Shimla, resulting in increased rentals. We are seeing an increase in bookings from Amaze, Honda City in the Sedan category while InnovaCrysta has been the preferred choice of our customers in the SUV category, ”said Sunil Gupta, Managing Director and CEO of Avis India.

As India’s Covid count drops – India reported 43,071 new cases on Sunday and a 2.34% positivity rate, less than 5% for 27 consecutive days – doctors advise caution and the need to to be vigilant.

“Yes, it has been a difficult time. However, we cannot let our guard down. We must not mix with the groups. It is not advisable at all. We must remain cautious for the next two to three months. .. “said Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and Hod, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.

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