Mumbai, November 08, 2019:In this the digital age, social sharing, the increase of disposable income and the braggable rights of travel is power- driving the entire holiday ecosystem – whether outbound or domestic tourism. The Indian traveller has come of age and travel is no longer a luxury, but rather a non-negotiable necessity.
The SOTC India Holiday Report was first introduced in 2015 and has been tracing the evolution of the Indian traveller over the years. SOTC Travel’s recently released India Holiday Report 2019reveals insightful data to deep dive into the Indian leisure traveller psyche, their preferences and travel behaviours. The SOTC India Holiday Report 2019 was conducted with over 1100 respondents belonging to four distinct age groups: 25 years and below, 26-35 years, 36-55 years and 56 years and above.
The findings of SOTC India Holiday Report 2019 are classified into three key categories: Holiday Preferences, Holiday Research & Booking and Holiday Finance.
– Indians are increasingly opting for multiple short breaks rather than the traditional single long annual vacation.While in 2015, more than 75% respondents had taken a holiday for 7-10 days as compared to 3-6 days, in 2019. This indicates a trend of higher frequency and shorter duration holidays.
The exception is the 56+ year segment that prefers longer vacations of 7-15+days
– International holidays are a mandatory inclusion in the annual travel plan: All age groups booking at least one international holiday a year.
– Domestic holidays show a marked growth with 92% respondents taking a domestic holiday compared to 80% in 2015. Leisure combined with Spiritual journeys are witnessing as interesting trend. Destinations such as Madurai, Rameshwaram,Dwarka, Shirdi, Pushkar, Mathura, Ujjain &Varanasi featured in SOTC’s Darshans have seen significant growth in 2019.
– 68% of all respondents chose relaxation as a top reason to take a holiday. 73% of India’s work warriors Gen Y/ Millennials opted for travel escapades as a great way to unwind.
– Family Bonding is a key driver for holidays with 64% of respondents across all the age groups choosing ‘Spending time with friends and family’
– 59% Gen Z are adrenalin junkies/adventure-seekers who holiday to fulfil their passion for adventure e.g. Diving Holidays in Malaysia, Kite Sailing in Philippines, White Water Rafting in the Himalayas
– Local Cuisine is a top holiday enhancement preference with 65% of Gen Zand Gen X 57% selecting their travel destination basis its local food. Destinations like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Italy, and France are trending for cuisine and wine journeys. Japan, Korea, Ireland are emerging for their unique local flavours and whiskey trails.
Research & Booking:
– Indians are increasingly on-the-go and impatient. With Internet penetration on the rise, social sharing and easy access to digital travelogues, a majority of the respondents (79% of less than 25 years, 81% of 26-35 years, 78% 36-55 years and 61% of 56 years+) opt for online platforms for their primary research
– While not surprisingly over 70% respondents in the age groups 25- 35 &36-55 years booked their holidays online, an impressive 48% of the 56 plus segment also felt comfortable booking online
– Destination was the key influencing factor for most respondents (79% for less than 25 years; 84% for 26-35 years; 74% for 36-55 years and 67% for 56+)
– For less than 25 years the second most important influencer were Packages and Offers while Hotels/Experiences/Activities and Travel Websites/Blogs came third. Interestingly, for over 50% of respondents in this age group the decision on holiday travel was taken by the parents
– With age groups 36-55 (47%) and 56+ (35%), Family Demands became a critical factor in influencing holiday plans
– Baby Boomers and seniors are clearly embracing the online world: 62% respondents gave credence to Travel Websites and Blogs
– The holiday decision maker is seeing a shift from husband-dominated to joint decision making
– In a major fillip to the digital ecosystem, over 80% respondents use Credit or Debit Card for travel booking and on-ground expenses. The discounts and cashbacks being a key driver
– Irrespective of age groups, most respondents still dip into their savings for their holiday travels (92% for less than 25 years; 92% for 26-35 years; 90% for 36-55 years; 96% for 56+)
– Spends on holidays seem directly proportional to age groups, which is very likely a reflection of the increase in income and savings; 93% respondents in under 25 years spend less than one lakh per annum on holiday travel and over 50% of the respondents in age groups less than 25-55 years spend only upto one lakh per annum
– In a marked change, Indian travellers have also begun viewing EMI and loans as an option to fund their holidays with an average of 4% of respondents across all age groups availing of these to enjoy a vacation
Vishal Suri, Managing Director, SOTC Travel said “ I am proud to launch the 3rd edition of the SOTC Holiday Report 2019, that keeps a finger on the pulse of India’s rapidly evolving, digital native demographic. This is the first time we have undertaken a completely online survey for our report.The findings reinforce the undeniable fact that everyone aspires to travel andthat travel has become a non-negotiable element in the Indian traveller calendar. Whether it is bespoke adventures, solo or escorted tours, Indians are travelling far more than they have ever before and while they will continue to be quintessential value seekers, their passions like adventure or cuisine play a critical factor. The digital divide is almost non-existent with technology being a great enabler across age groups. As against the single annual vacation, Indians are displaying increasing appetite for multiple short holiday breaks.
He concluded with, “At SOTC, in our quest for customer excellence, the report plays a key role, giving us valuable insights for product and service to better serve the next generation of Indian travellers.”
The India Holiday Report 2019 has also identified the primary archetypes of travellers that stood out in India over the last five years:
The Budget Friendly Traveller– They usually take at least one international vacation every year, and travel with the spouse, or with family and kids. They look for a meticulously planned tour to cover as many sites as possible within the available time and budget.
The Convenience-seeker– This traveller wants everything to be planned and simple, valuing convenience, ease, and transparency, above all, in travel planning. They are even willing to outsource decision-making to a trusted party to avoid having to go through extensive research themselves.
The Family Memory Builder– They aim to build family memories and strengthen the bonds between its members, seeking a combination of both sightseeing and flexibility. This segment largely comprises couples aged 35-45 years, with young children less than 18 years of age, and potentially senior citizens.
The Explorer-With a hunger for authenticity, this traveller is extremely particular about having a flexible itinerary comprising a wide range of unique local experiences. They like to keep a minimum-viable-plan for their trips, as they prefer to discover the rest, on-the-go.
Mellow Vacationer– This segment predominantly comprises couples in the age range of 25-35 or 45-60.They choose to go on vacation without children, looking to unwind, relax, and enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Their expectations consist of low-key experiences at a relaxing pace, and dislike itineraries, with no desire to attempt anything unusual or new.
Senior Citizen– These travellers are generally older, retired couples aged 55 years and above, with above average income.With considerably more free time on their hands, they are quite eager to travel, with an ideal vacation entailing relaxing at a serene location with the opportunity to enjoy the company of others, and spend time with their loved ones.