Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel have jointly released Third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021), revealing emerging consumer behaviours and trends for travel when restrictions ease. They surveyed over 4,000 customers across India’s Tier 1 – 3 cities.

The survey covered consumers in Pune, Jaipur, Indore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Nagpur, Surat, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Mysore, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, and Patna.

Key highlights from the research include:

  • Strong Travel Desire/Intent: Around 69 per cent respondents showed keen interest to travel in 2021 post ease in restrictions – with 18 per cent ready to travel immediately post unlock and 51 per cent within three-six months
  • Financial Safety: 81 per cent respondents reiterated their need for refundable/zero cancellation products
  • Physical/Personal Safety: 70 per cent respondents ranked health and safety as a key consideration
    • Re-sanitation of rooms: was selected by 52 per cent respondents as a key requirement.
    • Fully vaccinated hotel staff, drivers were essential aspects highlighted by 48 per cent and 34 per cent respondents, respectively
  • Willingness to increase spends basis on health and safety: 66 per cent respondents are willing to increase spends to ensure higher levels of health and safety on their holiday
  • Demand for both domestic (54 per cent) and International (46 per cent) destinations
    • India: Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh, Himachal, Andamans, Goa, Kerala, etc.
    • International: Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Europe, etc.
  • Duration of Stay: 35 per cent respondents chose holidays between three-five days; 52 per cent for six-12 days; 13 per cent for a holiday of over 12 days.
  • Travel Companions: 62 per cent respondents stated that they prefer to travel with family/friends; 20 per cent as couples/solo;18 per cent in a vaccinated group.
  • Need for Human Touch/ Expertise:
    • 77 per cent respondents expressed strong preference for interaction with an expert for guidance/ reassurance – 27 per cent opting to purchase holidays through retail outlets; 17 per cent for home service; 33 per cent preferred a contactless experience of a virtual store/video chat
    • 23 per cent opted for bookings via website/app

Elaborating on the safety features offered, Rajeev Kale, president and country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said:

“Indian consumers continue to display strong travel desire with a noteworthy 69 per cent keen to travel in 2021. Equally important are consumer concerns on health-safety (70 per cent), uncertainty (19 per cent) and need for refundable/zero cancellation products (81 per cent).

To address this and boost customer confidence, we have launched TravShield – our commitment to personal safety, financial safety, and mental safety. Personal Safety includes vaccinated travellers on tour, vaccinated hotel staff/drivers, and interactions with vaccinated travel advisors; sanitised rooms, restaurants, and vehicles. Financial Safety covers free cancellations and rescheduling.

“To ensure mental safety, our products are inbuilt with Covid Insurance, and to ensure peace of mind we have our 24×7 Doctor-on-Call service for any emergency during travel – in partnership with Apollo Clinics.”

To give customers an exclusive advantage, our Holiday First and Pay When you Return is a unique offer – allowing them to enjoy their holiday and pay later,” he added.,