With more and more Indians wanting to utilise long weekends for short breaks, there was up to 49 per cent growth in bookings during this the Independence Day week, the industry said.
While overall air bookings increased over 30 per cent from last year, hotel bookings saw a 50 per cent spike during the week with demand growing for high-end properties. An interesting feature was the rise in the number of women holidayers, which rose by 5 percentage points.
“With the Independence Day falling in the middle of the week this year, we saw increased bookings both for the prior weekend as well as for the weekend after August 15.
“The number of air bookings made at least 15 days in advance has increased by 49 per cent from last year. On the hotels front, we observed that 64 per cent of the bookings were made in the last four weeks and 34 per cent over the previous six weeks,” Cleartrip Vice-President for accommodation and activities, Ankit Rastogi told PTI.
He said the average stay for domestic round-trip bookings increased by a day from last year.
“Over 57 per cent of the hotel bookings were for three nights or above. Interestingly, people are more inclined towards spending on luxury properties, with almost 33 per cent of the bookings for 4 and 5-star hotels against 23 per cent last year,” he added.
Bookings by couples, families, and group bookings amounted to 39 per cent, 29 per cent and 19 per cent of the total booking pie for hotels, he said.
Echoing a similar view, Expedia India Marketing Head Manmeet Ahluwalia said as this Independence Day fell on Wednesday, travel enthusiasts took a couple of days off and combined it with the weekend, making it a mini vacation.
“We have seen a rise in bookings which increased by 30-35 per cent throughout the week. Delhiites preferred going to Shimla, Kathmandu and Goa, while Mumbaiites flew to Goa, Jaigarh, Matheran and Pune. We also saw rise in international bookings for destinations like Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia and Dubai this week,” he added.
Paytm Vice-President Abhishek Rajan said, “We have registered a significant surge in bus bookings to these destinations compared to last month. There has been a 50 per cent month-on-month growth in bus passengers, while train and air passengers grew by 9 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively. This growth is higher from key tier II cities compared to tier I cities.”
Around 70 per cent of these passengers were men and the rest women, compared to 75 per cent men and 25 per cent women on normal days, he added.
Anand Menon, vice-president and head, travel tours, leisure business at FCM Travel Solutions—the Indian subsidiary of Flight Centre Travel Group of Australia—said simplified visa processes have made an easy access to international destinations like Abu Dhabi, Pattaya in Thailand and Singapore for the August 15 long weekend.
“Despite falling on a weekday, we have observed a rise of 23 per cent overall in travel bookings for domestic and international travel compared to the I-Day weekend last year,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ixigo Chief Executive and Co-Founder Aloke Bajpai said his company has witnessed over 46 per cent jump in travel compared to corresponding weeks.
“Many major domestic airlines and travel portals announced their Independence Day sales, which contributed to this growth. The preferred travel dates are between August 3 and 16, with most people taking short trips, many visits to their hometowns.
“The peak was observed for travel from Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Mumbai,” he added.