Even with several major political shifts and currency fluctuations around the world in 2016, travellers fared well with average nightly hotel prices unchanged globally from 2015, as reported in the latest Hotel Price Index (HPI) from Hotels.com. The global index sat at 114 for 2016 for the third year. North America and the Caribbean were the only regions to have slight average price increases (both up by one per cent) throughout 2016, but the other regions’ declines tempered the overall global picture.
Travel and tourism has been one of the rapidly expanding industries globally, with the World Travel and Tourism Council predicting an even more commanding future in its WTTC 2016 India Research Report. It is also one of the major contributors to the overall Indian economy and has subsequently witnessed added focus from both private and public sector bodies. Accommodation has seen a spike in not just emergence of new players, but also renewed zeal from existing brands.
HPI 2016 revealed the most popular domestic, inbound and outbound destinations from an Indian market perspective.
According to the report, demonetisation haven’t had significant impact on travel plans for Indian tourists in 2016. Five of the top 10 countries for outbound travel were long-haul destinations. While UK may be exiting the EU, Indians seem to be flocking to the country as UK claimed the third most popular country spot with Indians shelling approximately INR 12,000 per room per night. USA, Germany, France and Italy were the other long-haul destinations to feature in top 10. Spends on accommodation per night in the USA remained unchanged in comparison to 2015 (approximately INR 10,800). In five of the 10 top destinations (UK, UAE, Singapore, France and Italy), travellers paid comparatively less in 2016 as compared to 2015.
The top 10 popular outbound cities for Indian travellers was dominated by Asia Pacific cities and saw little change since 2015. However, the top 50 and top 100 lists revealed the new destinations that were becoming increasingly popular.
The HPI data revealed evolving Indian travel habits, with a growing preference for destinations such as Kathmandu, Budapest and Macau that made surprise entries into top 50 most popular outbound destinations, clocking in at positions 37, 38 and 50 respectively.
Moscow saw a jump of 25 ranks to 45th position, Hanoi saw a jump of 25 ranks to land at the 56th position, Lisbon saw a jump of 22 ranks to 82nd position.
An interesting trend was observed with regards to domestic and inbound travel, with New Delhi and Mumbai emerging to be the top two most popular destinations in comparison to India’s perennial tourist magnet – Goa, which came in at third place in the domestic bracket, was surpassed by Bengaluru in the inbound bucket and relegated to fourth spot.
Jessica Chuang, director – regional marketing, Greater China, SEA and India, Hotels.com, said, “Keeping a pulse on what makes travellers – Indian and global – tick is something we at Hotels.com take seriously. Year-on-year HPI has helped us understand which destinations customers are willing to spend on and to what extent and this helps us align ourselves better to cater to their needs. It was encouraging to observe that average daily price paid for both domestic and inbound segments for the India market saw positive movement reinforcing the fact that India is a popular destination across global traveller demographics. In the 2016 HPITM, Indian travellers have reiterated their preference for travel to perennial short haul South East Asian destinations like Bangkok, Bali and Pattaya and Phuket. An HPI ranking is also an indication for destinations and corresponding accommodation players to sit up and take note of what the traveller is saying – movement in the HPI spot is a pat on the back for the ones who have moved northwards and a wake-up call for those who have been unable to maintain past positions. India as a market is slightly unpredictable and that is what makes it so interesting and refreshing and we hope that 2016 HPI sets the tone for travel trends we will be witnessing as 2017 progresses.”