With an abundance of information and resources available on the internet, there has never been a better time to explore different cultures and gain new experiences. This has resulted in a palpable growth and development of the Indian travel space in the last five years, including an acute shift in the way people book their accommodations. Keeping this in mind, Cleartrip, India’s leading travel and leisure platform has curated insights on the accommodation trends that have been observed in the time period of 2014-2018 in its latest study titled “Evolution of the Travel Space in India”.
Women on par for deciding the vacay abode- Among the various insights that the report unravelled, the most interesting one was the fact that women are almost at par with men when it comes to booking accommodation for their vacation. The percentage of bookings made by women is in the range of 40-45 per cent. In 2018, around 43% of accommodation bookings were made by women. Notably, the share of bookings made by women in accommodation is much higher when compared with air travel, where the percentage of bookings made by women is 36% on average.
Long weekend travel in vogue - Long weekend rejuvenation has been observed as another emerging trend, with a spike in the bookings accounting to 70%-100% over other weekends. Additionally, there has been an increase in the frequency of vacations booked and a decrease in the time period of each. A decrease in the no. of days booked per booking from 2.06 to 1.93 in the last five years suggests that the trends of going on more number of holidays for lesser days than opting for fewer holidays of longer duration is gaining ground.
More travellers say hi to last-minute planning - While people previously planned their holidays well in advance and booked everything accordingly, a new trend of last-minute plans has notably emerged, irrespective of the motive behind the travel. For instance, same day bookings for business travels have seen a hike from 17% in 2014 to 25% in 2018. Bookings made at least two weeks in advance remain a dominator in both international as well as leisure travel plans. There has been an increase in the percentage of same day plans for international travellers, more notably so among leisure travellers which rose by 8%.
Travellers on a splurge - The most expensive destinations in India have largely stayed the same throughout these five years. Kabini in Karnataka ranks first at an average room rate of INR 17,158 in 2018, closely followed by Kutch in Gujarat and Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir. Interestingly, in the last 5 years, the average cost of rooms has also witnessed about 23%-29% growth in the five states having the most expensive accommodation, with Goa ranking first at INR 5251, trailed by Maharashtra, Andaman and Nicobar islands and Daman and Diu with almost similar room rates. Delhi ranks fifth on this list.
Trending destinations - Among the most trending destinations, a higher concentration of room nights has been observed in Kerala, Goa, Andaman and Pondicherry for the beach enthusiasts. Whereas Manali, Ooty, Nainital, Shimla, and Coorg are among the major spots for hill station lovers. For national park lovers, Corbett, Ranthambore, and Bandipur have been the major go-to wilderness exploration destinations.
Talking about the insights spanning across a five-year period, Ankit Rastogi, Vice President – Accommodation and Activities, Cleartrip, remarked, “At Cleartrip, we are highly passionate about staying relevant to our customers and our recently-curated study helps us to continue enhancing the customer experience. Through this study, we have garnered interesting insights such as the growing propensity for last minute travel plans amongst as well as the emergence of women as key decision makers. Further, revelations on the most popular destinations and accommodation options allow us to cater better to the unique preferences of discerning travellers.”
Varied preferences and special requests -There has also been an evident change in individual preferences and priorities for accommodation bookings. While cleanliness ranks first on the list for women followed by accessibility and safety, it is the availability of a smoking room which remains a priority for men, as room amenities and food quality ensue. Top ‘special requests’ include early check-in (requested by 20% travellers), room with a preferred view (requested by 13% travellers), and a viable commute distance between the airport and accommodation (requested by 11% travellers).
Higher star hotels rated better - Since travellers irrespective of their gender prefer accommodations that best suit their expectations and criteria, four and five-star properties are rated around 28% higher than the rest in traveller reviews, as observed by Cleartrip among the ratings of their property partners.