afaqs! news bureau

After hills, OYO invites lockdown-lagged city dwellers to the beaches

An OYO report suggests that Indians are opting for holidays across beach destinations, heritage and holy cities of India.

Owing to the high demand for beach destinations across the country, OYO has rolled out its ‘Chal Beach Chalein’ campaign. Earlier this year, when India’s hill stations reopened their borders to tourists after the COVID-induced lockdowns, OYO launched ‘Chal Pahad’, a campaign urging consumers to visit the hill destinations.

Overall, during this holiday season in December, leisure travel is the most popular across dominant tourist hotspots across the nation with higher road connectivity, shorter routes and distances from mainstream cities such as Goa, Himachal Pradesh (Shimla, Kasol, Manali), outskirts of Mumbai (Mahabaleshwar, Pune, Alibag, Lonavala), etc. From a business city standpoint, OYO is gaining maximum traction across metros including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.

According to OYO’s recent consumer survey, approximately 57 per cent of consumers mentioned their next trip would be for leisure, compared to 43 per cent of respondents who are likely to travel for business. With an uptick in domestic tourism, post unlocking, OYO’s top 12 leisure destinations account for 55 per cent of demand across India. These destinations are mainly spread across beach destinations, heritage cities, and religious or spiritual ‘holy cities’ of India.

Jaipur, Udaipur and Agra lead as the most sought after heritage cities across India, while Indians prefer Goa, Kochi, Vizag and Pondicherry as their top beach destinations. For pilgrimage seekers, Puri, Vrindavan, Tirupati, Shirdi and Varanasi are the highest-ranked destinations. With Christmas and New Years’ around the corner, OYO’s catalog of top destinations has been designed to help holidaymakers’ decision-making process.

Currently, the hotel chain is witnessing the highest demand for Goa and Himachal Pradesh for December 30, 2020 and January 1, 2021. In 2021, OYO expects Jaipur, Goa and Kochi to continue reigning as India’s top leisure destinations.

Besides customer demand, post the gradual unlocks, between October 2020 and December 2020, OYO has also observed a 5X jump in demand for leisure destinations driven by local travel agents or the offline channel. This demand has been broadly led by Goa, Jaipur, Udaipur and hill stations located in Northern India.

Sharing his thoughts on the uptake in India’s domestic leisure travel, Yatish Jain, head of online revenue and marketing, South Asia - OYO Hotels & Homes said, “Post-unlocking, our occupancy has recovered to ~45 per cent of pre-Covid levels with our used room nights growing steadily at 40 per cent m-o-m. We can attribute a significant portion of this recovery to leisure travel. With international travel taking a backseat and after spending months in the world’s longest lockdowns, Indians are increasingly opting for destinations that are closer to home, a drive away within 200 miles, or even exploring off-beat destinations in an attempt to beat the crowds.”

Jain mentioned that with work from anywhere and flexible work hours, families aren’t planning their holidays around school calendars, and this has further contributed to the rising demand for leisure travel.

“...We are confident that with our efforts and the increasing consumer optimism to travel, starting with this holiday season, leisure travel will continue to see month-on-month growth in 2021 as well,” he added.