This isn’t any ordinary summer. It’s the first one since pandemic-led travel restrictions have been lifted completely across most parts of the country. This means travel aspirations are at an all time high this summer. Tracking consumer travel sentiment across India, we published our Mid-Summer Vacation Index 2022. As per the report, over 61% of Indian travellers plan to take vacations this summer, out of which a whopping 94% showed a strong preference to travel domestically. This shows that despite the opening up of international air travel, exploring local destinations is here to stay in 2022.
Interestingly, every 1 in 2 Indian travellers plan to head out on their first trip since the 2020 lockdown this summer. This is a strong indicator of the bounce back in travel confidence across India, mainly due to mass vaccination drives, combined with the receding pandemic severity.
With about 65% votes, a majority of travellers are keen on leisure trips, for a much needed break from the routine. In December 2021, as travel opened up domestically, most respondents had preferred travelling mostly to meet their family & friends after a long time due to the pandemic. While there are certain trend shifts, short trips continue to be the top choice among travellers. Nearly 55% of respondents still prefer shorter trips of about 1-3 days. As per our survey, over 50% Indians opted to travel with friends, while 26.5% said they would love to spend their vacation with family. 13% of respondents also wished to go solo this summer.
Where is India heading this summer?
The Hills Vs The Beaches
While some love to spend their summer amid quaint hillside towns, many also love spending this season soaking in the sun alongside white sandy beaches. As per our consumer survey, with 1/4th of the votes, hill stations emerged as the clear winner. However, that’s not it. Nearly 22% said they would love the best of both worlds – with a mix of hill stations and beaches. This was followed by preferences for seaside towns, staycations, adventure sports destinations, riverside stays, among others. When it comes to the hills, over 1/3rd of Indians opted for Manali as their cooling destination of choice, followed by approx. 20% who wish to visit Kashmir this summer. Sikkim, Ooty and McLeodganj were also popular choices among vacationers. Among beach lovers, 58% said that hands down Goa is their dream beach destination in India. This was closely followed by the Andaman & Nicobar islands, and Kerala with 12% and 11% respectively
From catching sunsets at Goa to adoring the beauty of Kashmir in a Shikara, India’s summer wishlist
Well, who doesn’t love a relaxing waterfall during the summers? Among destinations popular for their rivers and waterfalls, a large proportion of respondents (38%) expressed interest in visiting Kullu this summer, followed by Rishikesh (of course, for its watersports!). Alleppey and Jim Corbett were also in the running as India’s top waterfront destinations. It’s summer and who wouldn’t love to catch a beautiful sunset? Almost 30% Indians would love to enjoy stunning sunset views while at a beautiful beach in Goa. A close second, 21% said there is no better way to admire the sunset other than a shikara ride on Dal Lake in Srinagar. This was followed by the majestic sunset at the Taj Mahal.
Think summer, think picnics. Right? With 35% each, respondents were split between the houseboats in Kashmir or ruins of Hampi as their favorite picnic spot. The rest would like to visit any soulful Indian village or countryside for a quick picnic.
Going international, or maybe not?
With more than 1/3rd respondents opting for this beach destination, Maldives is once again India’s international dream destination, followed by Dubai, Thailand and USA. And yet still, our consumer survey shows that Indians are still keen on desi alternatives over videsi destinations. 58% of consumers prefer taking vacations in Gulmarg over Switzerland, 70.3% in Coorg over Scotland, and 67.9% choose Auli over Alaska.
Sneak peek into traveller behavior this summer
Over the past two years, Indians have embraced spontaneity when it comes to travel. This trend continues to dominate travel decisions even today. 1 in every 3 Indians prefer booking their travel within the same week. With 44% upvotes, hotels continue to be the preferred choice of accommodations, followed by alternate accommodation options such as villas and homestays. However, 60% of respondents want to stick to a budget under INR 10000. Additionally, data from our Mid-Summer Vacation Index 2022 showed that 25.9% Indians travel for a relaxing stay while 16.4% Indians look forward to exploring nature followed by photoshoots of scenic locations to Instagram and trying out delicious food.
Commenting on the ever-evolving consumer trends, Shreerang Godbole, SVP – Product & Chief Service Officer – OYO said, “We have already had two record breaking festive weekend bookings in April. Over the Good Friday and Vishu week, we received 8 lakh bookings, the highest ever in 2022, surpassing New Years. Over the next couple of weeks, we expect this demand to further rise across destinations. The past few years changed the way we travel. People are much more open to taking smaller breaks, working from a scenic location or even making their travel bookings at the very last minute. Alongside these trends, consumers are now looking for higher personalisation and flexibility – when it comes to digital payments, easy booking modifications, or even support to resolve queries. Adding to this trend, we strongly believe that domestic destinations will benefit the most from this bounce back, especially the smaller unexplored ones.”
“At OYO, we innovated several products and features to provide utmost convenience and flexibility to travellers. Some of our features such as ‘Pay at Hotel’, easy cancellation and refund policies, 3-click booking process, or Nearby stays give consumers the confidence to travel on a whim, without worrying about the ‘what if’s’. This uptick in demand puts the country back on track to welcome pre-pandemic era growth.” He added.
Some more power-packed travel trivia
- Vacations or Staycations? 64.3% Indians chose vacations over staycations, 54.1% chose beach destinations over cold locations
- Not everyone loves the sun, some prefer a star-studded summer: Pushpa star Rashmika Mandanna beats SRK, Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt; becomes India’s dream travel buddy this summer vacation
- What’s travel without the journey? 22% Indians said they usually make a pitstop to try local cuisines, while 15% said road trips can be too stressful, they might as well stay at an affordable local hotel to take a nap during their travel
- Prized possessions: 19% respondents said that they would never leave their camera back home while on vacation. This was followed by some truly practical choices for the summer, such as water bottles, sunglasses, among others
- Well, here’s the make or break situation: 27.9% of respondents said that their ideal hotel room must have an amazing view, while 26% prefer comfy beds and 17.3% won’t do without a jacuzzi
Sample size: 1000+ respondents across India surveyed in April 2022