Most travellers postponing trips due to rise in Covid-19 cases: Portals
The second wave of Covid-19 seems to be impact travellers, albeit marginally. Travel portals are recording a minor drop in the number of travellers as some have opted to postpone their plans.
MakeMyTrip said the second wave of Covid-19 is having a knock-on effect and they foresee a transitory slump in travel bookings in the near future.“While there is an understandable dip in leisure travel as uncertainty around the virus returns, a faster vaccine roll-out should also have a bearing on the overall sentiment in the coming weeks,” said its spokesperson. He added, “The latest booking patterns on MakeMyTrip indicate that while travellers are willing to postpone their vacation by a few weeks as they monitor the situation, they are still keen on taking a summer holiday with more caution. We are also certain that the distribution and effectiveness of mass vaccination will help in sustaining the recovery that was witnessed in the last quarter.”
Moreover, some travel requirements have emerged strong during the pandemic. These are: safety and hygiene at the accommodation, contactless check-in at airports and hotels, and preference for alternative accommodations such as villas and homestays.
Cleartrip has also recorded a drop in bookings amid a rise in Covid cases but expects an upswing in the later months of summer travel .
“The current spike in Covid cases and the resulting travel restrictions have resulted in an overall decrease in the demand and slight increase in cancellations. One clear trend being seen is also the spike in one-way travel. However, there is still time for summer bookings to come in, especially with a lot of customers looking to book closer to travel date. We expect the situation to ease as case loads and restrictions recede and vaccination drives gain traction,” said Rajiv Subramanian, vice-president, Cleartrip.
With more and more people postponing their travel, booking platforms are looking at offering flexibility in changing itinerary, in order to encourage people to travel.
Booking.com, an online travel agency, said options of free or flexible cancellation policies will help travellers update and cancel bookings until 24 hours before check-in at many places.
“At Booking.com, our utmost concern is for the safety and security of our customers, partners and colleagues. We are closely monitoring the situation, including announcements and instructions from government and relevant departments, so that we can ensure we are supporting affected parties in any way we can,” said its spokesperson.
Thomas Cook has a plan in place. “ With the recent announcements with respect to Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra, we have received a few requests for a possible date change and deferment. Our flexible date change options and rebooking support create reassurance and peace of mind for our customers. The strategic contactless model that we had put in place as early as March-April 2020 is working very well for us,” said Rajeev Kale, president & country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
However, he also said that they have witnessed a strong growth for domestic holidays with an over 30% increase in March numbers against that of February.