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Time to pay attention to the paradigm shift in the mindset of travellers

At SOTC, we are witnessing pent-up demand and opportunities in the new phase of travel. People are longing to travel again due to the pent-up demand created for travel during the lockdown and their desire is to take a holiday and emerge from quarantine now more than ever.

Daniel D’souza

From celebrating important anniversaries to special occasions, holidays have given travellers the chance to celebrate the important milestones in life.  SOTC has witnessed a growing trend with customers choosing to opt for places that are close to home away from crowded cities. Seeing an uptick in enquiries for quick escapes like back to nature and beach destinations, workations and drivecations are a popular first choice.

With a trend in Bleisure trips combining work and vacation, mini getaways offer a perfect opportunity of work-life balance through a rejuvenating escapade from ones’ routine life. We have specifically launched packages for working people who might want to enjoy a break while on work at a nearby boutique property. We see an uptick in staycations due to the rise in stress levels during lockdown. Staycations allow for people who are unable to get much time off work besides their weekends, to implement micro-breaks in their routine daily life for some well-needed rejuvenation and relaxation time.

With consumers opting for non-standard/eclectic accommodation such as a colonial bungalow, plantation villas (coffee -tea estates), heritage properties- palaces, it is time to tap into the demand for non-standard and unique journeys. With international destinations such as Dubai and Maldives reopening for tourists there has been pent-up demand.

The COVID-19 era has redefined travel. Private trips are an emerging trend, that lets families and friends enjoy and explore a destination in privacy and safety in the COVID era. As travellers now look towards made-to-measure, bite-sized travel with more safely curated travel itineraries into shorter timeframes is an evolving new trend.

Carefully designed packages with a complete focus on health, safety and affordability for customers will be the way forward. Travellers want certainty and peace of mind now more than ever, and many companies have catered to the current need by introducing flexible rescheduling, booking and cancelation policies that allow for last-minute changes and cancellations. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of travel insurance as a necessity.

Indian consumers are displaying an increasing appetite for getaways that are at a drivable distance- Staycations that offer meticulous health and safety measures at affordable pricing. Visiting places closer to home also allows vacationers to take shorter trips more frequently. Private mobility may be on the rise over the long term, as travellers feel safer in privately owned vehicles. As a result, drive-to destinations have increased in popularity

There has been a paradigm shift in the mindset of consumers today – with more travellers actively seeking out less crowded trips, searching for privacy and a greater sense of calm and peacefulness. We see customers recognising the value and peace of mind that booking with a reputed travel firm offers especially during these uncertain times.  

We have seen an immense demand with travellers who want their own itineraries, but actively seek travel connoisseurs to help them make informed decisions. Through our ALa Carte Holidays, SOTC provides a service that is flexible and convenient to suit every travellers need.

There is an expected rise in local tourism, offbeat places, wildlife tours. Demand has similarly increased for drivecations and rural getaways to experience the local culture. The pent-up travel demand due to the lockdown has resulted in a new-found interest in Destination India.

From exploring the local cuisine to finding offbeat experiences at every destination, millennials wish to explore the unknown and are keen to escape the city life for more glocal experiences. Owing to the pressures of lockdown, customers have shown a strong sentiment and preference for outdoor experiences.

Gen Z and Millennials also show a strong inclination to explore adventure and nature based holidays with their families. We see great interest from honeymoon couples who wish to experience the thrill of wildlife holidays. Fun outdoor activities such as nature camps, national parks and hiking trails are popular among Indians travelling with friends and families. We have seen strong demand for Ranthambore for the month of October & November with our wilderness packages. Other popular wildlife reserves include Kanha, Gir and Jim Corbett National Park. We have seen renewed interest with new-age travellers seeking experiences in travel that are novel and unique while being wellness and spiritually driven.

The stringent restrictions on social gatherings limiting wedding celebrations this year, couples are looking at investing their savings towards a memorable honeymoon. With countries such as the Maldives and Dubai emerging from lockdown and with the lifting of travel restrictions, we see a rising trend especially amongst honeymooners and young couples to choose a destination for their romantic escapes.

About the author: Daniel D’souza is the President and Country Head, Leisure Section at SOTC Travel.