Unlock 4 makes way for some radically new travel trends
Revenge spending, RoRos and Relaxations in travel guidelines leads to a rise in demand for SaffronStays.
Over the last six months, COVID-19 has modified all our lives. And slowly, we have learnt to live with it by taking enough precautions and implementing safety and hygiene measures. This time also brought forth a whole lot of opportunities for various industries. Take travel and tourism, for instance. Work from home has given us the freedom to work from anywhere. One is no longer required to commute for long hours, there’s improved work-life balance, and one can work from anywhere - including a private vacation home.
Similarly, people now look at domestic travel in a new light. Travel agents, who would earlier chart out international itineraries are now looking at private vacation homes at drive-to distances for smaller groups.
SaffronStays, a network of 175+ private vacation homes across the country, has seen a 115% jump in the number of new users when compared to last year around the same time. Owing to their high safety standards and sanitisation procedures, private vacation homes have turned out to be the preferred choice of accommodation even for those who never considered staying at one earlier. The luxury of privacy and certainty of not sharing common spaces with strangers has added to their credibility.
Second homeowners also saw this time as an opportunity to partner with home management companies to rent out their homes to a refined customer base. During the last 6 months alone, the hospitality collective has on-boarded 55+ homes.
Revenge spending, RoRos and Relaxations in travel guidelines
In the last six months, people have spent most of their time in the confines of their home doing household chores. As expenses went down drastically, the urge to travel shot up. And so, revenge spending - where a person goes overboard with their demands and doesn’t mind spending that extra bit to enjoy the best of best - is the new trend. After all, who’d mind a dip in a private pool only to return to the dining area for a hearty breakfast without the hassle of preparing it themselves! Kshitij Goenka, a travel agent from Pune, says, “Guests are open to spending a little extra for privacy and safety at the moment. Instead of a hotel, they are opting for private villas for get-togethers - a home they can call their own even if for a few days. They are looking at customised arrangements like a bar set-up, DJ for entertainment, elaborate menu that includes a variety of starters and desserts.”
For several Mumbaikars, the introduction of the RoRo service between Mumbai and Alibaug has proved to be a boon. With the elimination of e-passes for inter-district travel, and relaxation of quarantine rules, the fear and apprehension around travel has gradually subsided if not completely erased. Drestinations, or drive-to destinations from one’s feeder city have seen an exponential rise. A small group heading to a private vacation home in their vehicle is the order of the day.
Devendra Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays, says, “While the CTO of a company is said to have brought in huge transformations in any organisation in recent times, families, too, have a CTO - a Chief Travel Officer. This CTO is planning a getaway from the city and modifying it to suit current needs. The good 'ol weekend getaway has now become a 3-5 night stay, large groups are replaced by smaller groups and vacation is now a workation with a pool.”
The organisation’s sales for September 2020 have already surpassed their September 2019 sales. He adds, “While we’re seeing a massive inflow of queries and guest check-ins, we are in no way compromising on our safety standards. There’s still a 24-hour gap between two bookings, other measures like contactless check-in, staff and guest temperature checks, FSSAI & WHO-compliant procedures are in place.”
Workations, Weekday stays & WiFi
An offshoot of bleisure, workation, which combines work and vacation, has seen a massive rise among working professionals. As long as there’s WiFi, pool and lawn at a fully serviced home, people don’t mind spending days or even weeks together, working out of these private homes. A guest, who stayed at one of SaffronStays’ Alibaug homes for 2 weeks, says, “The house was well-sanitised and cleaned everyday and we felt at ease given the current COVID situation. The WiFi connection was also strong throughout the home, including the pool-side area. This made for a nice ‘work-from-home’ environment. Six adults were working during the day and three children had online learning in the mornings; it all was achievable without any disruptions.”
This has led to a transition in the basic travel DNA as we’ve known it. Says Tejas Parulekar, Founder, SaffronStays, “Travel is no longer limited to peak season and weekends. For best offers and in order to switch one’s office background, people are opting for weekday stays at a private vacation home. This should explain the rise of our website traffic by 98.47% than last year during the same time.”
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