Budget is the buzzword

The recently released Google Travel Trends Report by Google India revealed that in domestic hotel industry, branded budget hotel chains are driving the growth of hotel bookings online


The recently released Google Travel Trends Report by Google India revealed that in domestic hotel industry, branded budget hotel chains are driving the growth of hotel bookings online

With over 300 million Indians online and the number growing rapidly, hotel providers have been slow to catch on the digital bandwagon, with only 20 per cent of total hotel inventory available online, according to the latest Google Travel Trends Report released by Google India. Seizing this massive opportunity, several players including new and established players are focused on bringing quality budget accommodation online across the country.

With the availability of this new inventory online, the report reveals that internet users in the country are lapping up the budget hotels online which is evident in the growth of Google search queries. Branded budget hotel queries in India are growing at 179 per cent YOY in comparison to just 36 per cent YOY growth in generic budget hotel queries. The overall queries for ‘Accommodations’ as a whole are growing at 37 per cent YOY.

Speaking about the trends in the travel industry, Vikas Agnihotri, director sales, Google India, said, “Newer players in the segment have energised the travel vertical by unlocking a brand new inventory online. They have been quick to capitalise on the online demand with aggressive advertising spends in building their brands, which is leading to overall category growth for the industry. We expect this segment to continue to see massive growth with leisure travel expected to pick up in the coming summer holiday season. As part of our own efforts to boost the sector, we’re sponsoring the Great Indian Travel Festival which is currently live – to provide users a central destination for all the great holiday deals that are available online for the upcoming holiday season.”

Further analysis of the type of queries for the budget hotel category reveal strong preference for distinct brand queries i.e. users are going online looking for branded budget hotel chains. Budget hotel queries already account for 35 per cent of total accommodation queries and a large share of 47 per cent of search queries that are for the brands providing budget hotel inventory online.

In terms of top destinations searched for accommodation during March to June period of 2015, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi-NCR  are the most searched destinations. Majority of these states capture business or work related travellers, indicating that leisure destinations will be the next growth driver for the branded budget hotel category as today out of the top 50 domestic destination searched, only 30 per cent of destinations represent leisure travel.

With the growing demand for branded budget hotel, players are investing in creating a distinct brand positioning as budget hotel providers are likely to see faster growth compared to generic travel aggregators. As per industry estimates, the inventory in the budget hotel space is expected to grow further with both new and  existing players expected to bring upto 10,000 new rooms online this year.

In terms of outbound data (international) compiled basis Google search queries between January to September 2015:

  • 25 per cent of search queries are for international air tickets growing at 43 per cent YOY
  • 18 per cent of search queries are for international accommodation growing at 25 per cent YOY
  • 22 per cent of search queries are for international holidays growing at 30 per cent YOY

United Arab Emirates, United States and Thailand take the top positions for most searched international destinations with a healthy growth rate of over 35 per cent YOY. The top 10 most searched international countries in 2015 (Jan-September 2015) include:

  1. UAE
  2. United States
  3. Thailand
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Singapore
  6. France
  7. Australia
  8. Malaysia
  9. Indonesia
  10. Italy.

Search queries also reveal that Indian travellers have taken a liking to niche travel destinations, the list of fastest growing destinations in top 50 searched international countries in 2015 (Jan-Sep’15) include:

  • Seychelles – growing at 112 per cent YOY
  • Hungary – growing at 88 per cent YOY
  • Czech Republic – growing at 75 per cent YOY
  • Russia – growing at 65 per cent YOY
  • Greece – growing at 57 per cent YOY
  • Norway – growing at 57 per cent YOY
  • Vietnam – growing at 56 per cent YOY
  • Sri Lanka – growing at 53 per cent YOY
  • Saudi Arabia – growing at 53 per cent YOY
  • Austria – growing at 51 per cent YOY.

Metros contribute 80 per cent of the top 10 Searched International Destination Packages traffic on Google Search:

  • Delhi-NCR
  • Chandigarh
  • Kolkata
  • Ahmedabad
  • Mumbai
  • Pune
  • Hyderabad
  • Bangalore
  • Chennai

For holidays related search queries in the period between March to June 2015, the most searched international destinations include:

  • Thailand
  • United States
  • UAE
  • Singapore
  • Maldives
  • United Kingdom
  • Mauritius
  • Malaysia

Honeymoon and romantic packages are the fastest growing packages for holiday bookings growing at over 42 per cent YOY, followed by vacation packages growing at 35 per cent YOY. Adventure packages although a small category, is showing healthy growth with search queries growing over 22 per cent YOY.

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