The salaried class is worried about bills, while hotels and airlines are worried about business. The twain shall meet this summer in cut-rate hotel rooms, flying in thanks to airline discounts.
Layoffs, salary cuts and substantial reduction in corporate spending on travel expenses and conferences spawned fears that the bulk of hotel rooms would go empty in the dull seasons that start in April and run through to September.
The Leela group, a five star deluxe hotel chain, has offered affordable packages to enable people enjoy luxury at comparatively cheaper rates for its top rated properties in Kovalam (Kerala) and Goa, two of India’s top holiday destinations.
"The Leela realises that the times (slow down) and has made luxury so affordable this summer that the kids need never know of recession," said a top official of Leela. At Goa, the group is offering couples a three nights all-inclusive package for Rs 24,000 onwards, with free board and lodge for children below 5 years of age.
At Kovalam, Leela is offering a similar package for around Rs 22,000 — and this is 10 per cent cheaper than the offers announced last year.
According to industry experts, hotels have already dropped prices by 25 to 30 per cent and a further cut is expected. “If demand does not peak up in May, we can expect another 10 per cent reduction in prices,” said Partho Chatterjee, an expert on the hospitality industry.
Air tickets in advance purchase schemes are offered by airlines and these are even cheaper than train fares. Jet Airways and its subsidiary JetLite have announced a 30-day advance purchase scheme starting from Rs 1,722 (one way) excluding airport taxes and transaction fee of Rs 350) for JetLite and Rs 1,921 excluding airport taxes for Jet Airways.