Summer vacations in Mumbai began last week with many schools closing for a two-month vacation, but families had started packing their bags well in advance, says data from travel companies.
Almost four out of 10 summer travel bookings recorded by travel portal Cleartrip for instance, were done about two to four months ago. About 60% leisure travellers booked their holidays up to two months ahead, and only 2% planned their vacations at the last minute, the data said.
Yatra.com, another travel portal, saw 43% of its summer bookings done up to three months ahead of the holiday.
“As of April 12, we have seen a record booking of over 98% travellers who have already planned their summer vacations for May. That is almost 45 to 90 days in advance, thus availing great advance air fares and hotel deals. When compared to the same period last year, about 86% bookings were done 45 days in advance,” said Amit Taneja, chief revenue officer, Cleartrip.
While advance booking of holidays is a trend that was noticed about three years ago, data shows that it is becoming more popular. For instance, people booking summer holidays 61 to 120 days in advance rose to 39% this year from 31% in 2015, the Cleartrip data said.
“Summers have always been a preferred time for a vacation among Indian travellers. Bookings start from as early as January. Vacations are no longer a last-minute affair for today’s new age, well-informed travellers, who are in search for best deals,” said Sharat Dhall, president, Yatra.com.
The data also showed that early planners got better deals. For instance, the average price of a Mumbai-Goa one-way economy class air ticket bought 90 days before the flight this year was Rs2,343. But the same journey was more expensive at Rs2,907 when bought 45 days before the departure date. Similarly, the fare difference on the Mumbai-Singapore route was about Rs2,000, the data said.
However, the fare advantage that early bookers enjoyed last year was higher (see box).