Most 2017 long weekend calendars drawn by travel companies showed only one short break this month starting from February 24 owing to a public holiday on account of Mahashivratri (Friday). But holiday bookings by couples celebrating Valentine’s Day seem to have forcefully added another weekend to that list.
According to travel operators, many working couples booked holidays between February 11 and 14 to celebrate the occasion and majority of the bookings were done in advance. Nearly one-third of the hotel bookings for that period, on travel portal Cleartrip, happened last year; some of them as early as March.
Around 45% bookings happened between two to five weeks in advance, while less than one-fourth happened last week, the portal’s booking analysis showed.
“For those choosing to stay back in the city and not sticking with the traditional ways to spend Valentine’s Day, we see a line-up of interesting activities. The top three activities booked on Cleartrip Local are Hot Air Balloon ride in Delhi, a Yacht experience in Mumbai and visiting theme parks like the Snow City in Bangalore,” said Subramanya Sharma, chief marketing officer, Cleartrip.
He added that the rush was expected to surge closer to the date.
Manmeet Ahluwalia, marketing head with Expedia, said that Valentines’ Day itinerary bookings had mix of classic international destinations and quaint places at driving distances from metro cities. “While Matheran, the more established hill station near it is too crowded, Vikatgad fort merely 4km from Neral was more suited for V-day,” added Ahluwalia. He added that among international destinations Mauritius and Corfu in Greece, a popular Ionian island were among the picks. “This place is dotted with villages of whitewashed houses, churches and Venetian fortresses. It also offers the exciting nightlife.”
Hotels at metros and popular holiday hubs such as Goa are offering good discounts, added travel operators. “Most hotels are offering up to 20% discounts because this is an off season for leisure travel. Discounts were higher because Valentines’ Day is a week day. But that might have whipped up the demand,” said a Colaba-based travel operator.