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Thomas Cook India And SOTC Travel Release Third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021)

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Thomas Cook India and SOTC Travel surveyed over 4000 customers across India’s Tier 1 – 3 cities in a recent survey to identify emerging consumer behaviours and trends that will drive travel preferences in the COVID era. The survey covered consumers of India’s top 8 metros, mini metros like Pune and key Tier 2/3 markets of Jaipur, Indore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai, Nagpur, Surat, Baroda, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Mysore, Coimbatore, Visakhapatnam, Guwahati, Patna, etc. The companies have released key findings in their Third Holiday Readiness Report (June 2021).

The data analysis has revealed valuable insights on travel behavior and customer expectations:

  • Strong Travel Desire/Intent: A significant 69% of respondents indicated keen interest to travel in 2021 post ease in restrictions – with 18% ready to travel immediately post unlock and 51% within 3-6 months  
  • Financial Safety: 81% of respondents reiterated their need for refundable/zero cancellation products
  • Physical/Personal Safety: 70% of respondents rank Health & Safety as a key consideration
    • Re-sanitation of rooms: was selected by 52% of respondents as a key requirement.
    • Fully vaccinated hotel staff, drivers was a need highlighted by 48% and 34% of respondents, respectively
  • Willingness to Increase Spends basis Health & Safety: 66% of respondents are willing to increase spends to ensure higher levels of health & safety on their holiday
  • Demand for both Domestic (54%) and International (46%) destinations
    • India: Kashmir, Leh-Ladakh, Himachal, Andamans, Goa, Kerala, etc.
    • International: Dubai-Abu Dhabi, Maldives, Mauritius, Thailand, Europe, etc.

(Destinations selected basis announcements of unlock/easing of travel restrictions)

  • Duration of Stay: 35% respondents chose holidays between 3-5 days; 52% for 6-12 days; 13% for a holiday of over 12 days
  • Travel Companions: 62% respondents prefer to travel with family/friends; 20% as couples/solo;18% in a vaccinated group
  • Need for Human Touch/ Expertise:
    • 77% respondents continued to express strong preference for interaction with an expert for guidance/ reassurance – 27% opting to purchase holidays through retail outlets; 17% for home service; 33% preferred a contactless experience of a virtual store/video chat  
    • 23% opted for bookings via website/app

Rajeev Kale President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India) Limited said, “Indian consumers continue to display strong travel desire with a noteworthy 69% keen to travel in 2021. Equally important are consumer concerns on health-safety (70%), uncertainty (19%), and the need for refundable/zero cancellation products (81%).  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; sanitized 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.”

He added, “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.”

Daniel D’souza, President & Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel said, “We are very encouraged with the strong pent up travel demand (69%) revealed via our survey and given that uncertainty is a key concern, our Holiday First and Pay When You Return is an unbeatable offer – with a minimal token deposit of Rs 5000 paid pre-holiday and the balance post-holiday.  The offer is invaluable as SOTC pays for all the charges/fees till 15 days from return. 

Our TravShield safety commitment is aimed at ensuring a stress-free and safe holiday experience across every stage of the customer journey and enhances our existing Assured Insured Secured Travel Program We truly understand customer concerns on account of health/safety (70%) and TravShield is intended to reassure and build confidence in travel when restrictions ease.”

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