The pandemic changed many of our travel plans this year, and for all we know, we may never be able to go back to how we used to travel during the pre-pandemic times. As such, it is important to now look ahead and plan for the future, following the rules of the ‘new normal’. Digital travel company Booking.com has come out with new research, which reveals five emerging trip types and trends for 2021, to motivate and inspire travellers to plan a safe trip under these new circumstances, as per their preference.
The solo travel trend is likely to gain even greater momentum. Since travel was stymied by the pandemic this year, the coming year will likely nudge travellers to take the plunge to wander on their own. Booking.com pre-pandemic data saw only 18 per cent* of Indian travellers planning a trip on their own, while 54 per cent** of travellers are now saying they will be planning a solo trip in the future. Additionally, 49 per cent** of travellers say they would want to travel more in the future to make up for travel time lost in 2020.
In 2020, most travellers have had extended time apart from friends and family. For many, it appears that distance has made the heart grow fonder as 67 per cent** of Indian travellers plan to use future travel as an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones. In fact, while being apart, 49 per cent** have revealed talking to friends and family about travelling is one of their main inspirations to travel again.
With many travellers feeling apprehensive that future travel plans could be disrupted again, there will be an increased demand for a quick trip as 59 per cent** would want to take shorter breaks in 2021, than they did in 2019. Additionally, 35 per cent** Indians travellers also revealed their preference for a weekend break for their first trip once restrictions are lifted, showing the desire to be able to escape reality, even for just a few days.
The unexpected halt of plans has meant that just being able to travel at all is a luxury. In fact, 63 per cent** of Indian travellers have pledged to not take travel for granted in the future. So while research shows travellers intend to travel again, only 14 per cent** are now actually planning a luxury getaway (such as a villa, a 5-star hotel), with 47 per cent** of Indian travellers planning a relaxing trip to get away from it all, making relaxation the real luxury of 2021.
Food for thought
Travellers’ desire to explore the world is not dead, but 68 per cent of Indians would still avoid travelling abroad even as travel restrictions are lifted. That is why local travel is a new way of exploring the world, with culinary delights topping the list; 38 per cent** of Indian travellers are keen to taste and indulge in local cuisine while travelling, with 33 per cent** wanting to eat out more often with the money saved from not travelling abroad.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months. In total 22,000 respondents were polled, including respondents from India. Respondents completed an online survey between August 9 and August 28, 2019.
**Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who have travelled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted). In total, 20,934 respondents across 28 countries were polled, including India. Respondents completed an online survey in July 2020.