Cities hosting IPL matches are witnessing a marked rise in traction this season, mainly on the back of reduced air fares, summer vacations and the love for cricket, according to industry experts. “In India, cricket is like a religion and IPL, with its dose of action and entertainment, has taken the excitement off to another level. The platform is witnessing a marked rise in traction during this IPL season as the younger population begins to flock for marking their support for their favourite teams,” Paytm Vice President Abhishek Rajan told PTI here. As IPL 2018 kicks off, there is a 15 per cent surge in air ticket bookings for cities hosting the cricket tournament, he said. He said with just a few matches of the season having been played already, the average age of passengers travelling towards the respective cities has already decreased from 34 years to 32 years. Bulk booking orders (having more than 9 tickets booked in a single order) have also increased during this season, he added. Further, he said, the trend also comes in the light of reduced air fares in comparison to the previous month.
The average ticket prices have dipped by as much as 13.25 per cent for Jaipur, 8.35 per cent for Delhi, 6.47 per cent for Chennai, 12.73 per cent for Hyderabad, 2.06 per cent for Chandigarh and 9.18 per cent each for Kolkata and Mumbai. Echoing a similar view, Cleartrip Chief Business Officer – International Markets, Amit Taneja said, “This year, most matches are to be held across tier I and II cities. Coupled with the summer travel boost, we are seeing a considerable increase in air bookings to these places in April and May, the months the IPL matches are scheduled”. The IPL-led accommodation bookings are expected to speed up by the end of March through mid-April, he added. Cox and Kings Head-Relationships Karan Anand said this year the demand for these destinations is expected to grow by 10-15 per cent compared to the last IPL season. “IPL is a big draw with fans and they follow their favourite teams to different destinations. We have seen a demand for people booking flights and hotel accommodation with us in order to watch their favourite teams battle it out. There is more demand for matches on the weekends. Most of the people visiting these cities for IPL tend to spend more than two days at the location as they like to combine it with local sightseeing,” he added.
Over the years, IPL has become a sports activity that cricket enthusiasts all over the world look forward to, Expedia India Marketing Head Manmeet Ahluwalia said. “This year we have seen interest among consumers to travel to nearby cities to watch the matches, top destinations being Mumbai, Hyderabad, Mohali, Delhi and Kolkata. Mohali near Chandigarh has been one such destination and we have witnessed a 25 per cent rise in queries for the city. “On the other hand we have seen a high interest in bookings for Delhi and Hyderabad, which shows that the two teams are being considered as top contenders this season,” he added.