NEW DELHI: The global pandemic put an immediate halt on travel, and while restrictions have started to ease in many parts of the world, the financial legacy of COVID-19 will linger for much longer. While travellers may still be keen to resume travelling as soon as it is safe, they will be far more focused on value for money, booking transparency and flexibility now more than before.
70 percent of Indian travellers believe they will be more price-conscious when it comes to searching and planning a trip following COVID-19 and 64 percent are more likely to hunt down for promotions and savings revels digital travel platform Booking.com. 74 percent expect travel companies to support their future travel plans via discounts and promotions.
Destinations with deals
As finances top the priorities list, travellers will shift their choice of destination too, with many once sought-after destinations falling off the ‘bucket list’. 57 percent of Indian travellers say they will opt for a discounted trip to a place they wouldn’t have otherwise chosen, rather than paying more for a dream destination. Besides Indians, this money-saving sacrifice appeals most to Thai (58 percent) and Vietnamese (55 percent) travellers.
We’ll also see value placed on immediacy with almost 62 percent of Indian travellers favouring a trip they could afford in the short-term rather than saving for a dream trip with more uncertainty.
Looking for flexible travel
But traveller demand for value will run deeper than simply the price tag. Nervousness around the prospect of having to cancel a trip means flexibility will be key with 77 percent 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-mind with 38 percent of travellers saying they will consider refundable accommodation a must-have and 36 percent will want the flexibility to change the check-in dates without being charged.
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.”
As 2021 rolls closer and closer, the way travellers plan to experience the world will continue to evolve. No matter the evolution though, one thing is for sure: travellers will be prioritising value more than ever.