It would not be wrong to assume that among other things, travelling has changed a lot this year. While the lockdown confined people to their homes and made them cancel their travel plans, it also gave them a new perspective as to how to effectively and safely travel again. Domestic escapades became important, as did moving shorter distances for a quick weekend respite.
And now, a new research conducted by digital travel company Booking.com has found that while travellers may still be keen to resume travelling as soon as it is safe again, they will be more focused on value for money, booking transparency and flexibility now more than before.
The research found 70 per cent of Indian travellers believe they will be more price-conscious when it comes to searching and planning for a trip following COVID-19, and 64 per cent are more likely to hunt down for promotions and savings. Additionally, 74 per cent of travellers expect travel companies to support their future travel plans via discounts and promotions.
Change in the bucket list
Since finance has topped the priority list, travellers are likely to switch their choice of destination, too, with many ‘sought-after destinations’ falling off the ‘bucket list’. Fifty seven per cent of Indian travellers say they are likely to opt for a discounted trip to a place they wouldn’t have otherwise chosen, rather than paying more for a ‘dream destination’. Besides Indians, many Thai travellers (58 per cent) and Vietnamese travellers (55 per cent) feel the same way, too.
In fact, almost 62 per cent of Indian travellers will favour a trip that they can afford in the short-term, rather than saving for a dream trip with more uncertainty.
Flexibility in travel
Nervousness around the prospect of having to cancel a trip means flexibility will be key with 77 per cent of Indian travellers saying travel platforms need to add value by increasing transparency about cancellation policies, refund processes, and trip insurance options. Flexibility will also be top-of-the-mind with 38 per cent of travellers saying they will consider refundable accommodation, and 36 per cent wanting the flexibility to change their check-in dates, without being charged.
Commenting on the findings, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com said: “The effect of COVID-19 has and will continue to evolve the way we travel, impacting our choices and decisions in the near future. With the financial strain of the pandemic felt by many throughout India, the travel industry will need to come together and respond inventively to offer deeper value, better choice, increased flexibility and transparency to the travellers.
“Maximizing travel for less will be the new normal in 2021 and beyond. To meet the evolved travel demands and expectations, Booking.com is committed to offer enhanced, safe and thoughtful experiences for tomorrow’s travellers as they scrutinize their travel spends going forward.”