In a major relief to airlines and travel portals, the number of air travellers is on the rise due to the festival season. According to several travel portals, there has been a significant rise in bookings around Diwali and the festive season. The number of bookings has gone up by at least 20% as compared to the last few months that were badly hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Apart from Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Goa, Delhi, Patna, Bengaluru and Kolkata are the other popular destinations.
Vipul Prakash, chief operating officer, MakeMyTrip (MMT), said that they have noticed a significant increase in travel bookings during the festive season across the country. “Due to Diwali, our data indicates a 20% jump in bookings on dates between November 6 and 16. With people looking forward to returning home to celebrate the festival with their loved ones, Delhi, Patna and Kolkata currently are the most-booked destinations. In the coming weeks, we expect other metros and cities to pick up traction as well,” he said.
According to MMT, metro to non-metro and non-metro to non-metro travel will continue to witness growth and leisure travel will see a marginal dip in traffic as people will turn towards travelling to their hometowns during the festive period. They added that, drivable getaways to Goa, Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Manali, Coorg and Rishikesh; and in-city staycations in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chandigarh will continue to be the preference of travellers who wish to celebrate the festival away from home.
“There are trends and destinations which have seen traction from consumers who want to break free after months of isolation. We have witnessed a spike of 32% in booking enquires for leisure destinations such as Goa, Varanasi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. In terms of accommodation, we have seen a surge in booking enquiries for various options such as homestays, cottages and 4 & 5 star hotels,” a Yatra.com spokesperson said.
According to Cleartrip,customers are placing high emphasis on safety and flexibility in travel plans; data from hotel bookings also indicates a preference for properties that can guarantee a high degree of safety. “On our platform, we see a preference for 5-star hotels in leisure destinations such as Goa, Udaipur, Jaipur, Shimla, Manali, Lonavala, and Coorg,” a Cleartrip spokesperson said.
Portals unanimously said that the bookings are being made close to travel dates.
“Sixty-seven per cent of bookings made in October were for travel within the next two weeks. Booking volumes are around 24% of last year’s advance bookings (usually made around three – four weeks before Diwali). We expect the volume to pick up as we approach the festival and also expect them to be about 40% to 50% of last year’s volume,” said Aditya Agarwal, head of corporate strategy, Cleartrip.
The portal also said that due to a spike in passenger demand for air travel, they have already reached up to 65% of pre-Covid-19 booking levels.
EaseMyTrip, however, said that they have not seen an exponential growth for travel during the festival period this time. “We have already reached to 65-68% of pre-Covid-19 booking levels; the festive season ahead will boost demand further. We assume another 10% recovery in the next 30-45 days. However, as of now we have not seen significant bookings due to Diwali,” said Nishant Pitti, the co-founder of EaseMyTrip.