‘Desi Travel’ the buzzword of Indian hospitality sector recovery

October 21, 2021 3:30 PM

As industries are in the process of rebooting to the new normal after being hit by the pandemic, the hospitality industry which was one of the worst hit industries is also getting back to operations.

Roop Partap Choudhary

By Roop Partap Choudhary

As industries are in the process of rebooting to the new normal after being hit by the pandemic, the hospitality industry which was one of the worst hit industries is also getting back to operations. After the unprecedented and unimaginable scenario created by the pandemic, the Indian hospitality sector which was flourishing with double digit growth rate found itself at a virtual starting point.

We know that culturally rich, the Indian travel and tourism industry was abuzz with international and domestic travellers. India in recent times was one of the preferred travel destinations due to the vibrant variety it has to offer and in turn the hospitality industry prospered. But, the pandemic and the travel restrictions that it brought with it have completely hampered travel. While domestic travel has started picking up, inbound travel has not picked up yet as international borders have still not completely opened. The struggle with corona is not over and is discouraging travellers to venture outside their own country due to the restricted flights, strict COVID protocols, uncertainty and lockdowns. This has been a huge hit for the hospitality sector as a considerable revenue stream has been reduced tremendously. One can easily assess that it will take some time for travellers to regain their confidence and things to normalise.

So one has to ask, what is the hope and strategy for the hospitality industry to cover the losses and start the growth journey again?

‘Desi Travel’ is the answer. Travel enthusiasts have been waiting eagerly to explore again and the hospitality industry has already started picking up. Domestic travel is unpacking a whole new chapter for the Indian hospitality Industry. Dominant trends such as revenge travel, bleisure, staycations, work from home – away from home (long duration stays),remote working, vacation rentals, road trips, weekend getaways, etc are breathing the much needed new life into the hospitality industry.

Indian travellers are getting back to exploring but with care. Most are still avoiding crowded public places, preferring indoor experiences, staycation destinations and remote locations – destinations away from big cities. Health, hygiene, cleanliness, sanitisation and safety are key top priority; there has been a substantial increase in guests searching for these measures at the property. Guests have become extremely cautious of choosing accommodations and want transparency on their preparedness in this regard.

This is a huge opportunity for Indian hospitality players to tap the great potential of Desi Travel and provide customers what they are looking for. Domestic travel has always been a great source of revenue, but now hospitality players have the opportunity to attract the outbound traffic into Desi Travel. Showcasing truly Indian earthy – excellent experiences and destinations to engage travelers. Offer to them unique experiences and superior hospitality services coupled with culinary delights to make the trips memorable. Global travellers have always looked towards India for brilliant cultural experiences and authentic Indianness. So there is no reason why the Guests of the new informed world would not appreciate the same.

This is the time for Indian hospitality players to take strategic and innovative steps towards re-connecting and converting Desi Travel into the next extraordinary growth avenue.

(The columnist is Executive Director, Noor Mahal and Jewel Group of hotels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official policy or position of Financial Express Online.)

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