Information technology professional Priyanka Vinay could not plan a proper honeymoon for herself after her husband’s leave got cancelled owing to an unexpected job commitment.
However, a reluctant call made by the Bangalore-based couple to a travel company, hours before setting off for an unplanned trip to Maldives, dramatically changed their holiday experience.
“I casually made the call to book our stay without expecting them to deliver. But we were stunned when a staffer from a four-star hotel greeted us at the Maldives airport,” said 24-year-old Priyanka.
Despite travel getting dearer over the last year, last minute travellers like Priyanka are an increasing number. Travel portal Cleartrip.com’s analysis of its flight and hotel bookings found that 20% of the people made the bookings a day before travel or on the same day. As a result, the company introduced a package tour called ‘Quickeys’ for such travellers.
“Around 22% hotel bookings for forthcoming festive season were done under this scheme,” said Noel Swain, executive vice president, supplier relations, Cleartrip. He added that unlike popular perception, trips booked at the last minute are not expensive. “Three to four star hotels selected under the scheme offer 30% flat discount on the best available price,” added Swain.
Many travel companies have launched package tours targeting last-minute vacationers. For instance, Thomas Cook launched a similar scheme call ‘48H Holidays’ last month.
The company selected 15 international destinations that offered visa on arrival and claims that its travellers can use the product to book holidays abroad in 48 hours.
“We wanted people to leave trip planning and execution worries to us. We are offering a range of exotic destinations from Ireland, Jordan, Ecuador to Cyprus at affordable rates,” said Madhav Pai, chief operating officer, liesure travel (outbound), Thomas Cook India Ltd. Travel portal Makemytrip.com also launched a mobile application for bookings of last-minute planners.