Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head Leisure Travel & M.I.C.E at Thomas Cook (India) Limited
The upcoming Christmas and New Year long weekend offers impactful opportunity for short breaks and has further fuelled demand, witnessing an impressive upswing of over 20% for international holidays. As the Indian traveller is conventionally a last minute planner, we are expecting this number to increase further. As the clock ticks down to midnight, we have witnessed that a number of travellers are enthusiastic about beginning their New Year at exotic destinations.
Short haul destinations are in top demand due to easy access of an under 5 hour flight, hence impactful uptake to Singapore, Dubai, Thailand, and Maldives.
Our Product Teams have negotiated special deals for such weekend/short breaks and these include value options like free transfers, complimentary meals and upgraded accommodation; child free or companion discounts which work well to further inspire demand.
At Thomas Cook India, destinations that are trending with our consumers this season for long hauls are our group departures to Finland and Sweden (White Christmas).
Recent trends also indicate an emerging interest for fresh options like Rome (Christmas Mass), Switzerland, Amsterdam (Festival of Lights), Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, Finland and Parts of Italy, Abu Dhab,Fiji, Auckland, Adelaide, Bora Bora and Tahiti.
The travel hungry Indian consumer has been quick to leverage festivals and the long weekends as an apt opportunity to escape from the hectic pace of daily work life and indulge in a short well-deserved getaway, to rejuvenate and recharge. Our customers are maximising this opportunity to plan short-haul vacations to explore domestic destinations- closer home and hence the increase in demand for regional destinations. For instance, domestic destinations such as Gujarat, Rann of Kutch, Kerala Goa, North East, Rajasthan and Bhutan holds strong allure for quick getaways. Our Domestic Teams have reported a significant increase of over 12 – 15% in bookings.
Since the upcoming long weekend for Christmas/ New Year has been on every traveller’s radar, given increasing demand, hotels rates have seen highs of 10-15% (surcharge is applied by hotels, our packages are priced accordingly) plus over standard rates. Our traditional value seeker Indian consumer seems immune to super peak pricing this year and despite the lack of offer promos or discounts from hotels, they are all set to make the most of this much-awaited break.
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