The new duffle bag that will travel with the Vikhroli-based Guptas on their four-day Dubai trip starting August 12 became a part of their closet two weeks ago. Much like that planned purchase, their short holiday was also planned the moment the 2016 holiday calendar was out in January.
With two public holidays for Independence Day (August 15) and Raksha Bandhan (August 18) in the same week, there is a healthy uptake in short vacations, and travel operators said most of them were planned well in advance.
“We were done booking tickets and the stay more than two months ago. Being off-season, the whole package was extremely cheap,” said Advait Gupta, a senior executive with a pharma company.
“Earlier, bookings for extended weekends would close by one or two weeks before the holiday season, but in the recent past, we have seen a shift. Hotel rooms are sold out a month or two in advance, as people have started to plan in advance,” said Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head with travel portal Expedia.
Ahluwalia said bookings for travel during the long weekends rose by 37%. Other travel companies have also noticed a similar trend - Ezeego1 recorded a 25% rise in bookings compared to last year, while Cox and Kings witnessed a 20% increase .
The choice of destinations varied from Mauritius to Matheran, travel trade observers said.
“Popular destinations for long weekends are closer home for those with kids. For instance, from Mumbai, it would be Goa, Mahabaleshwar, Matheran or Alibaug. The Double Income No Kids (DINKS) group is looking at destinations such as Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka, which are all time favourites during this period,” said Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox and Kings. He added that cheap air tickets and hotels fuelled the unseasonal rush. “We have observed domestic air tickets purchased during flash sales have dropped by at least 10% compared to the same period last year.”Many travellers also chose itineraries that are in sync with the monsoon.
“Concepts such as night camping, trekking, forests trails, camping and rafting, which are best enjoyed during the rains, are fast catching up with young travellers,” said Neelu Singh, the chief executive officer at Ezeego1.