Long weekends traditionally see impromptu trips a drive away from home. In 2015, however, many Indian leisure travellers hopped on flights and booked themselves in plush hotels, both within the country and at nearby foreign destinations, booking patterns observed around long weekends show.
“Long weekends have been the driving force for Indians when it comes to planning travel, as witnessed in the past year. Compared to 2014, we saw a surge in hotel bookings in 2015, as many important festivals such as Eid and Diwali fell near the weekend,” said Amit Agarwal, senior marketing manager (India and South East Asia) at Hotels.com, an online accommodation service provider. A price index report by the portal showed four of ten people browsed for 4-star and 5-star properties for long-weekend trips within India.
Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya — tourists hotspots in Thailand that are less than five hours away from Indian metros featured among the top ten foreign destinations explored during long weekends last year. Among domestic destinations, a mix of metro cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, and hubs like Goa and Udaipur, were in the top ten.
“With 13 long weekends in 2015, Asian countries that are essentially short-haul have been the favourite among Indians, because travel time is less,” Agarwal said.
Other travel portals agreed.
“Last year saw travellers choose numerous short-weekend breaks, instead of one-long annual holiday. It was a landmark year for the accommodation business on Cleartrip. We witnessed an overall 125% growth year-on-year for hotel bookings, said Amit Taneja, chief revenue officer at the travel portal Cleartrip.
He said budget accommodation on Cleartrip for these long weekends saw a 150% spike last year. “We see impulse purchase booking trends for short breaks emerge strongly, with the onset of yet another year, full of long weekends.”