Chennai, October 2, 2014: India’s largest online marketplace for ‘stays’ -- Stayzilla.com-- has carried out a study of Indian travel patterns and preferences. They found that some of the results of their exercise were completely contrary to popular wisdom. Ranging from perception of the size of different travel segments, tips on how to save more while traveling, and insights in new, emerging travel hotspots, the study uncovers the following myths.
Travel Myth 1: Travellers prefer to stay at hotels when holidaying
Despite hotels being lauded as the primary choice for most travellers, Stayzilla has noticed a new trend where travellers are moving towards exploring alternate stay options such as homestays, hostels, BnBs etc. Particularly noted among younger travellers, 22% of all bookings are now for non-traditional stay options.
The primary driver behind this is seen to be the growing need for personalized experiences. Travellers are now clamouring for authentic, local experiences. The social component to experiential travel, a greater degree of customization at smaller, independent stays, and economic pricing are all contributing to this.
The rapid growth in this trend has been driven by men, primarily with 74% of all alternate stay bookings coming from them. Alleppey, Manipal, Coorg and Bangalore are some of the most popular destinations
Travel Myth 2: Packaged tours cost lesser, when compared to customised, individual bookings
The conventional wisdom has always said booking packages tours, as opposed to splitting it up among travel, stay etc is the way to get bang for buck and spend less. This seems to be a flawed assumptions.
Making your travel and accomodation booings independently leads to an average of 30% in savings. Individual bookings have grown 25% yearly over packaged tours.
Travellers are also much more informed - performing checks across the spectrum of travel website to ensure they only book at the best price. In addition to this, a variety of other factors including distance from travel hub, proximity to tourist landmarks and amenities on offer at the hotel are all part of the decision making process.
Travel Myth 3: Market size of the ‘value & budget’ travel segment is miniscule
Another myth found broken is one about the size of the value and budget travel market. Once seen as miniscule, this segment now sees over 50,000 room night bookings in a day, and is valued at over 3 lakh room nights.
This market is still a whitespace, with the top 4 players combined holding less than 1% of the market. There is an astronomical unaddressed market that needs to be brought online and the opportunities in this space are boundless.
Travel Myth 4: Tier 2 & 3 markets are for ‘budget’ holidays
Tier 3 & 4 towns have been assumed to be the haven of budget stays. This myth too is found broken - nearly one in five 3-star and above hotel chains in India has a presence in tier 2 and tier 3 towns. This penetration is growing 30% yearly.
High-end travellers are now seeking unique experiences, and travelling to virgin, explored tourist destinations in tier 3 & towns.
Travel Myth 5: Northeast India is not a popular holiday destination
The North-East is fast emerging as popular holiday destination for travellers from Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar etc. The hitherto unexplored nature of the region as well as its focus on eco-tourism, and promotion of activities such as trekking, rock-climbing, bungee-jumping etc is also drawing experiential tourists. Pelling, Shillong and Gangtok have emerged as popular hubs. Bookings to the region have grown by 250% in the last year, with the volume now constituting 15% of all summer bookings.
Yogendra Vasupal, Founder & CEO, says he is exciting by the new kind of traveller emerging in India - young, confident, well-informed and risk averse. “We are seeing the emergence of a new kind of traveller in India. The traveller of today is well informed by the internet and armed with mobile apps. This traveller is adventurous, open to experimenting and not risk-averse. Consequently, we see the market of ‘alternate stays’ exploding over the next three years. Stayzilla is currently operating at 1500 rooms per night. As the acceptance of alternate stays grows, we see this scaling up to 5000 rooms per night by the end of the year" he said.
About Stayzilla.com: Incorporated in August 2005, Stayzilla.com is India’s largest online marketplace for ‘stays’. From Kargil to Kanyakumari, Stayzilla offers stay choices in over 1000 tier 1, 2 & 3 towns and cities in India, covering a network of over 13,000 stay options spanning alternate stay options like Home Stays, Rentals, B&Bs to structured providers like Hotels.