Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) in India have experienced a significant boost in bookings during the monsoon season, with a surge of up to 15 to 20 per cent year on year. This surge can be attributed to budget-conscious travellers, including millennials, Gen Z, young couples, and solo adventurers, who take advantage of the off-season pricing and explore both offbeat and popular tourist destinations.
According to data from multiple OTAs, such as Yatra.com, ixigo, Cleartrip, Thomas Cook, and SOTC, there has been an increase in search activity and advance bookings during the monsoon season. Traditionally, the monsoon season is not favored for travel due to unpredictable weather conditions. However, travelers are now displaying an increased appetite for monsoon travel to escape crowded destinations and take advantage of attractive off-season prices.
Increased appetite for monsoon travel
Daniel D’Souza, President & Country Head of Holidays at SOTC Travel, noted, “Indians are displaying an increased appetite for travel during the monsoon season to get away from crowds and avail of attractive off-season pricing. At SOTC, we are witnessing approx. 20 per cent year on year (YoY) increase in demand for travel during the traditional low season.” Thomas Cook has also seen a rise of 15-20 per cent in year-on-year bookings.
Notably, ixigo and EaseMyTrip have observed a remarkable increase in searches on their portals, with a surge of 70 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively.
Decrease in airfares and hotel tariffs
Monsoons, typically considered a lean period compared to summer and winter, offer more affordable travel options for those who have been dealing with high airfares throughout the year. Airlines often introduce monsoon sales with significant discounts on flights, particularly during July, making it an opportune time for travellers to plan their trips in advance, as highlighted by Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder & Group CEO of ixigo.
Cleartrip has witnessed an 8 per cent decrease in its Air segment compared to the same time last year, while hotel room night prices have dropped by 11 per cent. Yatra.com’s data shows a decrease of 10-12 per cent in airfares and a 10-15 per cent dip in hotel tariffs YoY.
SOTC has seen a 25 per cent increase in demand compared to last year for eclectic accommodations. Staying in heritage bungalows, havelis/palaces, forts, farms, bamboo groves, tree houses, and tea estates/coffee plantations are among the top favorites. Additionally, self-drive holidays and adventure activities like monsoon hiking/trekking have gained popularity. High adrenaline experiences such as body surfing, bungee jumping, waterfall rappelling/trekking white water rafting zip lining, and kayaking are also witnessing an uptick.
The preferences of travellers during the monsoon season indicate a notable shift, with shorter trips gaining popularity, alternate accommodations becoming a choice, and solo travel becoming increasingly prevalent.
Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and Group CEO of MakeMyTrip, emphasised that this period is a prime opportunity for deal seekers to indulge in premium experiences at reduced costs since premium hotel tariffs tend to decline compared to the peak summer season. However, he also noted that the overall contribution of business travel is expected to increase over leisure travel during the monsoon period, which differs from the summer and winter quarters.
Preferred monsoon destinations
Regarding destinations, industry players unanimously agree that Goa, the Northeast, and Kerala remain the most preferred choices. However, interest in Kashmir and Rajasthan is also on the rise. For international travel, Indians are favoring destinations closer to home, including Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Vietnam, Seychelles, and Bhutan within the Indian subcontinent.