Travel firm Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel recently surveyed over 4,000 customers across Indian cities to identify emerging consumer behaviour and trends that will drive travel preferences in the COVID era.
The survey covered consumers of India's top 8 metros, mini metros like Pune and key Tier 2/3 markets of Jaipur, Indore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Nagpur, Surat, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Mysore, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Patna, etc.
Interesting insights on travel behaviour and customer expectations from the Third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021):
- A significant 69% respondents indicated keen interest to travel in 2021 post ease in restrictions with 18% ready to travel immediately post unlock and 51% within 3-6 months.
- 81% respondents reiterated their need for refundable/zero cancellation products.
- 70% respondents ranked health and safety as a key consideration.
- 66% respondents are willing to increase spends to ensure higher levels of health and safety on their holiday.
- 'Re-sanitation of rooms' was selected by 52% respondents as a key requirement.
- Fully vaccinated hotel staff and drivers was a need highlighted by 48% and 34% respondents, respectively
Demand for both domestic (54%) and international (46%) destinations
Among top preferred destinations in India are Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh, Himachal, the Andamans, Goa and Kerala.
Dubai-Abu Dhabi, the Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand and Europe are popular choices abroad.
These destinations were selected based on announcements of unlock/easing of travel restrictions.
As for the duration, 35% respondents chose holidays between 3-5 days; 52% for 6-12 days; 13% for a holiday of over 12 days.
62% respondents preferred to travel with family/friends; 20% as couples/solo and 18% in a vaccinated group.
Preferred mode of bookings
77% respondents continued to express strong preference for interaction with an expert for guidance/reassurance.
27% opted to purchase holidays through retail outlets; 17% for home service; 33% preferred a contactless experience of a virtual store/video chat
23% opted for bookings via Web site/app.
According to Rajeev Kale, president and country head-holidays, MICE, visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, 'Indian consumers continue to display strong travel desire with a noteworthy 69% keen to travel in 2021. Equally important are consumer concerns on health-safety (70%), uncertainty (19%) and need for refundable/zero cancellation products (81%).'