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Inside the battle to lure India’s growing class of big-spending travelers

OAP and off-season jaunts

As well as destination trends, tour operators are rushing to cater for other shifts in the way people travel. A quest for value for money is driving holidaymakers to book breaks during monsoon season when airfares and accommodation are cheaper, as well as opt for shorter stays.

As Kale explains, “Indians are intent on maximizing low-season discounts from airlines and hotels, together with special offers and complimentary add-on benefits. We’re witnessing a 15-20 per cent increase for this monsoon season compared to last year.”

As a result, the company has launched specific Monsoon Getaways, when tourists can take game drives in one of the country’s national parks or try adrenaline sports such as white water rafting in Ladakh after the heat of summer has passed. Meanwhile, India’s young population (around 65 per cent of whom are under 35) are behind another travel trend – a genuine desire for sustainability.

SOTC’S India Holiday Report highlighted another key set of big spenders: retirees using pension funds topped up by their children. They’re looking for big ticket holidays such as cruises or trips to see high profile happenings such as cherry blossom season in Japan.

“There are three levels of travel,” says Kapur. “One is very high-end travelers who respect brands such as the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton. Then there’s a second tier of customers who are more aware of their surroundings. And then there’s a third segment of people who go to get a picture at the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben and come back and say ‘well, I saw that’. The price you’re selling at dictates the expectations – if somebody’s buying a week or two in Europe for between $400 and $1,000, they know fully well what they can and can’t get.”

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