Indian holidays are shifting landscape. The pace of urban lifestyle, families becoming smaller and rising stress levels are making holidays a natural segue for people to feel refreshed and recharged. It is no wonder that the Indian urban traveller is seeking more meaning in what he does and where he goes for his next getaway. Seeking to satiate a more experiential desire, spending quality time and reconnecting with loved ones and de-stressing are all high on the Indian traveller’s agenda. According to a 2018 report by the World Travel & Tourism Council, India is expected to become the 3rd largest travel and tourism economy by 2028 in terms of direct and total GDP.
It is no surprise then, that bespoke experiences along with the obvious tangible benefits of price and amenities are what the tourism industry is scuttling to bring into the market. Cookie cutter 5 Star hotels just don’t make the cut anymore when it comes to the discerning Indian traveller. There is a desire for more experiential travel where privacy and uniqueness is preferred over sterile, standard living quarters.
However, what is interesting is the changing travel consumption patterns that have emerged in India. Few short years ago international travel was high on the Indian traveller’s agenda. However, as per a 2017 survey led by a travel booking portal, Indians are now embarking on shorter domestic travel more frequently. In fact, 66%respondents said that they are looking to travel for less than seven days. Another report published by Google India along with Boston Consulting Group corroborated this trend, citing that the Indian domestic travel market is poised to become a $48-billion industry by 2020.
One of the key drivers for this growth is definitely aided by technology which has helped make India much more discoverable. More drive-to destinations, experiential holiday packages and thematic vacations have emerged in the country over the last few years. Holiday homes too seem to be at the centre of the movement in the Indian travel space, and this segment, in particular, has seen an exponential growth, disrupting the hospitality industry as we know it. And it’s probably a good thing too, considering the benefits that stack up in the favour of a unique holiday home versus a hotel room.
Vacation Homes score a home run
The greatest advantage of a vacation home when compared to a hotel room is that it allows families to freely enjoy themselves without intrusion and discomfort of sharing spaces with other guests. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 81% of the revenue for holiday homes comes from whole unit rentals where the owner is not present.
# Privacy is the new luxury. As per an article by Business Insider, the upwardly mobile Indian traveller is now only looking for exclusive homes that protect the identity and respect the privacy of its guests.
# Guests do not have to share common areas like pools and lawns with complete strangers.
# Guests are also not confined to hotel lobbies for meeting and catching up with the entire group. Large living spaces designed for interactions ensure that guests can enjoy conversations as if they were home.
# Homes are perfect for couples seeking privacy during their vacation.
# Hotels center themselves in the heart of the action as opposed to vacation rentals which are often tucked farther away from the chaos of city life and offer guests a chance to reconnect with nature.
# A hotel room with all its luxury cannot hold a candle to a pet-friendly holiday home. Saving on pet boarding or sitter expenses, pet-friendly homes allow for it to be a complete family vacation with your four-legged friends joining in on the fun.
According to a five-year comparative survey data by Yatra.com, Indians are now showing an inclination to visit new and unexplored domestic destinations. Gathering experiences are a priority for today’s vacationers. In this case, hotels lack the extra authenticity which holiday homes can offer. Local hosts can help you explore the area in a more curated and personalized manner.
# The host’s recommendations and input help you get around finding the best local deals & experiences.
# Vacation homes offering one-of-a-kind experiences like historic villas, yacht stays or cottages hidden amidst apple trees add unforgettable experiences at affordable prices.
# Travellers get a chance to explore the local way of living and imbibe their culture.
While it may seem that luxury hotels are offering many perks as amenities, many holiday homes are now blending in perks that hotels offer.
#Free toiletries, wi-fi and bed & bath linens are common offerings
# Additionally, they offer complementary advantages that hotels don’t offer— like washer-dryers, Barbeques and private swimming pools giving a greater price advantage.
# Latest gaming consoles or a well-stocked library by the fireplace offer activities without added cost, adding to the charm of the holiday.
A 2016 survey on the “Spending Behavior in India” revealed that generation X spends the most money on travelling in a year with almost 25% respondents spending more than Rs 1,20,000. Those not wanting to spend too much on travel in terms of cost or time opt for vacation rentals 2-5 hours from top metros.
# Vacationers can cut on airfare and travel expenditure and yet get the desired holiday experience.
# Vacation homes in easy access destinations provide a quick getaway without the headache of pre-planned extended time-off.
With Indians drumming up brand-new itineraries for themselves, the industry too is transforming in response, with more options for the discerning Indian traveller making every rupee spent well worth it. Holiday homes are winning over confidence of experiential domestic travellers now more than ever, with the variety and value they provide.
(By Devendra Parulekar, Co-Founder, SaffronStays)