The hotels industry across India is expecting a rise of around 8-10 per cent in their bookings and revenue generation with the reopening of international travel, with the Indian government resuming scheduled commercial international passenger services, last month.
The hotels industry across India is expecting a rise of around 8-10 per cent in their bookings and revenue generation with the reopening of international travel. The Indian government had last month decided to resume scheduled commercial international passenger services to and from India from 27 March, two years after the country imposed a total ban on them to curb the spread of Covid-19 cases. “While it is too early to give a figure, we shall see the impact by Q1 in which we foresee a 8-10 percent increase in bookings,” Mehul Sharma, Founder & CEO, Signum Hotels & Resorts, told FinancialExpress.com. “Currently, we are looking at a 5-7 per cent increase since most of our business is domestic-driven; although we do see this moving up.”
Summer growth from both domestic and international visitors
Travel and hospitality industry is on an upward trend with business for both inbound and outbound travel surging, as vacationers are heading out during the peak summer months. Now with the international flights restarting, the industry is expecting growth being driven by international tourists. “With resumption of international flights, our hotel in Aerocity – Roseate House New Delhi is seeing transit and business travellers pushing ARR and occupancy for the hotel. RevPAR that we are witnessing is even higher than pre-pandemic,” said Kush Kapoor, CEO, Roseate Hotels and Resorts.
“We normally have 60 per cent foreigners and 40 per cent Indians average occupancy. Since the reopening, we now see 15 per cent international guests and have another 15 per cent queries. But this is not really the season for International visitors. We expect booking to increase from monsoons and international bookings will increase by around 30 per cent from July 2022 onwards,” said Abhilash K Ramesh, Executive Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group.
Besides business, hotels are also witnessing leisure travel picking up. “Until now, travel was primarily restricted to domestic, but with the international skies reopening, we have certainly seen an influx of travel plans for both leisure and business purposes. We are witnessing an upward growth in terms of bookings and revenue generation with a 21-23 per cent rise in the total bookings,” said Vishal Lonkar, General Manager – Brand Development, Renest Hotels & Resorts. The company’s Kolkata and Bengaluru properties are witnessing a demand rise recently.
Kairali Ayurvedic Group’s Abhilash K Ramesh maintained that their international bookings are coming from the UK, Canada, Austria and Germany.
Post summer surge more likely
While there is already an increase in bookings from international travellers, industry players said that more growth is expected after the summer months. “This start has been very positive for the entire industry, it will act as a catalyst to gear up for the upcoming season starting October 2022,” Manish Goyal, Founder, Stotrak Hospitality. “We expect the growth of around 5-6 per cent for the year, that too to come after October 2022,” he added.
For The Claridges Hotel, in terms of kind of bookings, guests are reserving for individual stays, tour groups and even international corporate events for October-March. “We have started receiving a lot of interest from Destination Management Companies and Tour Operators, especially for the Winter months. International corporate reservations are expected to start operating within April and leisure travel starting in late September / early October,” said Himanshu Kumar, Hotel Manager, The Claridges Hotel New Delhi. In terms of cities, hill areas including Ladakh, Kullu Manali, places in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, will see growth in international guests within the next 8 weeks, he added. For Stotrak, Rajasthan will be a hit once the leisure international travel starts in its full swing followed by Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
A neutral impact?
In terms of booking, while some opined that the reopening of international travel will have a neutral impact on the industry since it will also lead to people going out for vacations leading to drop in domestic demand, others believed that it will definitely add to the revenue.“It is obvious that there will be a certain number of guests who would be going out of India; but many will still opt for short holidays and would not find it conducive to travel outside India with offices and colleges reopening. Also, inbound international business travel will start very soon. India is a favoured destination of many global companies and with the signing of various trade pacts in the last 2 years, it is expected that the benefit of the trade pacts will be taken by foreign companies now. I do not think that restarting international flights will have a neutral effect,” said Himanshu Kumar.
Meanwhile, Vibhas Prasad, Director, Leisure Hotels Group, added, “For us at leisure destinations like Nainital, Corbett, Dharamshala & Rishikesh, domestic tourism has recorded substantial booking trends in 2021 by H1. However, H2 is expected to return to normal business trends as of pre-covid period and may have a neutral effect October onwards.”
Talk about locations
And finally, what are the flight bookings looking like? Where are Indians heading to? A spokesperson from Go First airline said, “We had been operating international flights under Air bubble arrangements earlier, and now the same are operated under the international schedule. We are excited to serve the Male, Phuket and Bangkok markets. We have also increased flights between popular destinations, especially the Gulf region.”
“International travel is gaining momentum with searches rising on the platform on a week-on-week basis. Amongst destinations, UAE and Maldives have already seen a recovery of nearly 80 per cent this month from pre-Covid days. On similar lines, flight bookings to USA, UK, Canada, Australia have already touched a recovery of 60 per cent verses January 2020. Flight bookings to short-haul destinations including Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia are seeing a week-on-week growth,” said Vipul Prakash, COO, MakeMyTrip.