Consumer sentiment upbeat on domestic travel, but constrained by budgets: Survey

Domestic travel is expected to see some revival, especially short or weekend travel, with 20 per cent respondents planning a vacation in the coming weeks and are more optimistic for south and north India, according to a survey.

More than 20 per cent respondents are planning a vacation in the coming week and with over a third respondents planning their trips, it looks even more optimistic for south and north India, according to a survey by multi-brand loyalty program PAYBACK.

However, the survey cited that a quick recovery may not be visible soon, as more than 40 per cent respondents said they will be spending less than last year, coupled with the fact that long vacations or international travel are not in their mind for the balance of the year.

More than 40 per cent consumers will be spending less than last year this festive season, followed by 35 per cent at the same level and only 20 per cent planning to spend more this year only in the higher annual income households, it said.

Respondents in southern cities chose to spend more followed by north India, the survey added.

The survey was conducted jointly by PAYBACK and its digital research partner, Unomer, online with over 1,000 respondents between 25-50 years who travelled frequently during the last two years across 12 cities including all metros.

Further, the survey revealed that nearly 50 per cent respondents during the initial phases of unlock chose self-drive as the preferred mode for short holiday travels with young women leading the pack.

North, west and south regions lead the preference for self-drive as trains or buses become the least likely choice (15 per cent) even for short trips or getaways.

However, in the last few weeks, travel by flights is also seeing an uptick, specifically in the east and west regions garnering 50 per cent preference, it added.

Nearly two-thirds of the respondents are booking their travel itineraries via online booking platforms compared with the traditional travel agents.

About 60 per cent respondents have either booked or plan to book hotels for vacation stays and among them, nearly three-fourth are looking at safety precautions (higher than any other aspect), sanitisation certificates and high star ratings as key booking criteria, as opposed to affordable rates, deals and offers which would swing the vote earlier, it said.

Over 60 per cent respondents said they are planning to go on vacation with their family followed by 25 per cent wanting to go with friends and solo trips still do not find many takers with just 9 per cent.

“Businesses are most impacted by the change in behaviour of their loyal members. Hence, it is important to measure the sentiment of the loyalists, to gauge the true impact.

“The current environment, which is replete with uncertainties, requires us to use the right data and levers to navigate the business challenges,” PAYBACK India Chief Marketing Officer Ramakant Khandelwal said.

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