Travel-tech Entrepreneurs Share Travel Trends In The New-Normal
Sustainable traveling, staycations, revenge-travel are the buzzwords among millennials in the post-pandemic world
With the number of COVID cases reducing and restrictions being lifted, people are traveling all over again, albeit with caution. Travel-tech companies are making the best use of the pent-up demand and are witnessing good traction after a long lull period.
For instance, TravClan, a B2B travel platform, claims to have grown six times of its pre-COVID revenue and terms times in terms of business. It aims to grow 10x over the next year. “After a brief low, things have changed significantly. The revival of travel has been strong enough for us to remain buoyant and even the service partners on our platform have seen an increase in traction,” said Arun Bagaria, co-founder, TravClan.
Travel Union, a rural B2B travel tech platform also witnessed a 30 per cent increase in the number of agents coming on the platform in the last month and the overall transaction also grew by about 20 per cent during this period. “This was due to rural travelers embarking on pilgrimages along with trips to meet their close ones and relatives. Many of the migrants who resumed work visited home for festivals with Diwali coming up in November. This further accelerated travel activities, especially in the rural parts of India,” said Dilip Modi, founder, Travel Union.
Making Hay While The Sun Shines
The pandemic burnt a lot of entrepreneurial dreams, so it’s a treat to the eye to experience things getting back to normalcy, says Varun Arora, co-founder and CEO of Ekostay, a homestay venture.
Arora added that the growing demand for travel has driven him and his team to explore new and improved properties with better facilities and great locations. The travel-tech entrepreneurs are happy that they are back in business and are leaving no stone unturned to ensure positive growth. “The pandemic was like a vast catastrophe for the hospitality sector and that is something every hospitality professional will agree on. On the brighter side, the pandemic seems to be fading away. We have experienced a surge in demand for private villas post-pandemic because of the privacy and serenity it offers which makes it imperative for us to increase our hospitality quotient even more,” said Saagar Panchal, CEO and founder, Hireavilla, a luxury villa venture company.
Travel Union claims to be leveraging technology to provide customized solutions to Travel Union Members. “We are also giving access to all trains operating in India through IRCTC, over 500 domestic & international flights, 10,000+ bus operators and 10 lakh+ hotels to its members and consumers,” said Modi.
Overall, the startups are offering competitive pricing, increased hygiene and safety protocols and discounts on extended stays. “We are steadily striking back by welcoming people to immersive experiences at our holiday homes and paying heed to a safety-first approach. Additionally, we are also parallelly promoting staycations to nearby drivable destinations, combining business and leisure travel, offering group discounts and flexible rebooking policies,” said Ankita Sheth, co-founder, Vista Rooms.
Travel Trends In The New-Normal
There is a demand for offbeat and unique travel locations amongst travelers these days, say travel companies. “For the millennial traveler, traveling is synonymous with freedom and the trend is to work hard and party harder. The younger generation is social–media savvy and is always looking for Instagram-worthy travel locations,” said Arora.
Another travel trend that the entrepreneurs have noticed post-COVID is the demand for staycations, that is travel to nearby and local attractions rather than foreign trips. “We have observed a growing trend for villas and farmhouses that provide greater privacy and meaning to a holiday. This emerging trend for sustainable traveling has opened doors of opportunities for several local businesses. The road ahead seems beautiful,” he added.
Post-COVID, there is also a new phenomenon observed, that is ‘Revenge travel’. “The pandemic played havoc with the mental health of people of all ages and got everyone stuck at home. Revenge travel is a psychological need to break through barriers and experience freedom through extensive and frequent traveling. This emerging trend can be a golden boom for the hospitality sector,” said Panchal.
Another trend Panchal has noticed is that people these days are keener on trying out new local locations, cultures, and food like never before. Besides, health remains paramount. Travelers are avoiding too much crowd.
“Additionally, travelers are preferring relaxed itineraries over rigid timelines. They are also opting for veg food in most of our properties almost 60 per cent. Travelers are also opting for road trips and shorter distances as this give them an opportunity to travel with their pets and elderly parents and grandparents as well,” said Sheth.
So the demand for pet-friendly, wheelchair-friendly properties has surged as compared to last year. Also, since a bit of restriction is still prevailing, the destination weddings have shifted to villas. Further, as many organizations are opening doors for fully vaccinated employees, business travel has also seen an uptake.
Another major trend in domestic and international travel is the need for sustainability. “Low or zero consumption of plastic, stringent hygiene measures at hotels and at tourist spots are being foreseen as being permanent and non-negotiable tourist trends,” said Bagaria.