With Christmas and New Year falling on weekends this year, online travel companies have witnessed an uptick of 50-60 per cent in flight and hotel bokings, compared to last year’s festival season.

Travel was impacted for the last two years due to the pandemic . Traditionally, there is an uptick in travel during Christmas and New Year. However, businessline had reported that in the same period last year the travel industry was witnessing a dip in booking due to the Omicron variant.

Given that the number of cases have reduced, customer confidence has been steadily increasing and both occasions are coinciding with the weekends, Indian OTAs are witnessing an uptick in searches as well as bookings.

In terms of air travel, OTAs are witnessing an uptick of at least 80-100 per cent of searches and 50-60 per cent of uptick in bookings during this period for the domestic segment, whereas searches for the international segment have recovered by 75 per cent according to players.

Bharatt Malik, Sr V-P, Flights, Yatra.com, explained that the winter season is one of the busiest periods for the travel industry, and presents a significant travel opportunity. The holidays of Christmas and New Year provide a chance to people to fulfill their travel bucket list for the year and, hence, there is an uptick in searches.

Nishant Pitti, co-founder of EaseMyTrip, added: “This being the first year after the entire lift-up on COVID restrictions, the excitement to bid adieu to the year can’t get anymore better. Interestingly, this year both festivals fall on a weekend, hence, most people seem excited to club the dates from 23rd to 2nd Jan and are booking for long holidays.”

Most bookings are for destinations such as Goa, Goa, Pondicherry and Kerala for domestic travel, according to ClearTrip; for international travel Dubai, Bangkok, Canada, London and Maldives are the top picks.

In terms of hotel bookings, the hospitality segment too seems to be making the most of the lost time over the past two years. ClearTrip’s data showed that the Average Room Rate(ARR) for this period is 1.5x against the Business as usual (BAU) period for the domestic segment whereas the International Share has doubled (2x) against the BAU period. A spokesperson said that the major share driven by Singapore and Thailand in the international segment.

Owing to the last-minute changes in rules and restrictions over the past two years, travellers had become cautious of booking prior in advance. However, with the easing of the rules, travellers are getting more confident, and booking at least three to four weeks in advance said an industry source.

However, MakeMyTrip’s Chief Operating Officer, Vipul Prakash, said: “We have been observing an increase in travellers opting for shorter advance purchase window as compared to pre-Covid period. Per data on the platform, currently, one in every two travellers is booking flights for immediate travel or within the next two weeks of the actual travel date.”