Written by 7:04 am Business

Post Covid-19: Revenge Tourism And Staycations, An Opportunity For Online Travel Agencies (OTA)

Image Source URL: https://citizenmatters.in/summer-overtourism-environment-damage-in-shimla-manali-rohtang-pass-13266

This piece was written to make the readers aware of what happened to their favourite holiday booking sites? How did they cope during these unprecedented times? So going about talking to the employees and reading reports was the norm.

This Research Study was conducted for a paper presentation and is based on live structured interviews/discussions had with the Current and Ex Associates/Executives of MMT, Yatra and other OTA players and a few Trave, Tourism and Hospitality (TTH) players who are instrumental in ensuring travel

Secondary data sources through primary reports and current affairs and trends were referred . NASDAQ, EY, Grant Thornton, Deloitte, PwC, Statistica, Bloomberg quint, inc42 reports were accessed. Qualitative data analysis using the Design Thinking principles was employed and Report writing was based on citing case studies. A crisp gist of this study is presented below.

Happy Reading!

Freeda

Call them Online Travel Aggregators or Online Travel Agencies (OTA); they were the lifeline of the Tourism, Travel and Hospitality (TTH) world. The intermediaries and the points of handshake, between the travellers and the various travel service providers. Not only in India, but across the world.  MakeMyTrip (MMT), Yatra and various other OTA’s became household names.  Travellers could network, with the click of a mouse, find an array of opinions, visually convince themselves and virtually negotiate for prices. The advantage of cancellations and postponement as an option, without much of an issue, was a bonus.  But Covid-19 which brought the World to its knees ensured OTAs too felt the break-point.  

As has been stated and read about MMT, that was clocking about $500 million a month, every month in fact; saw the figure of “ZERO”, yes ‘0’ in its account book! The lockdown, the stoppage in Air Travel took a toll. With Zero bookings, removal of employees off its rolls, reduction in salary for many, and to the extent that the top leadership stopped taking salaries.   Crazy to say the least, for MMT, which had acquired close to 14 entities till April 2019 and was in the process of more; Yatra too had been acquired by Ebix (for about $336 Million), an American Entity; but the pandemic, had another storyline to say.  The deal between Yatra and Ebix was called off on 6th June 2020.  

The pandemic, however, provided for other opportunities too, the Leaders of these OTA’s surely looked at how to move out of the crisis and make themselves relevant.  The ‘green shoot’ opportunities came in the form of terms and terminology that sounds at times absurd, but then who had seen the pandemic of 2020 and 2021 (will it continue to bother us in 2022?); 

How did MMT and Yatra make efforts to get back to business? These are questions that are addressed with a lot of concern and optimism.  And yes, they are slowly springing back, with bookings trickling in, and the salaries being paid back!

With The domestic tourists, willing to travel, the impetus was adopting the SoP that was specified by the Government from time to time.

The initial 30% occupancy, slowly progressing to 50% and beyond in the airline segment too helped the OTA with air tickets.

Travellers were willing to wear PPEs, masks and travel to their place of choice and for their work, if essential.

Hotels too following SoPs of managing people making use of the service offerings.

OTAs began offering discounts on air travel and hotels.

The ‘unlock’ was creating a lot of new opportunities viz., travelling moving to destinations from closer home and spending a weekend; or even a week in a Nature-based destination; some even were working from the resorts and the OTA ensured a multitude of opportunities for such visitors.  Discounts were in plenty.  “Staycations” became the order of the day.

OTAs worked with Hospitality and Hotel partners (Independent Hotels and Chain Properties) to provide for better discounts and infrastructure viz., Internet Connectivity, Management of the family – in case of longer stay options.

Working with Airline partners to ensure, zero connect travel, which was digitized to ensure, a free flow to the passengers.  

Everyone has been speaking of the opportunities of being resilient to the pandemic and seeking opportunities that will not help to ensure a forward movement for each one of us, but also the business world.  We are confident, that the human elk will not become a dinosaur story, but will meander on to become an elk, that will live up to tell a story, that we survived………….

Revenge Tourism? Are Staycations The Way Out?

Covid-19 locked all of us, the traveller in us, was only imagining and dreaming of the travels in the future and was recalling the travels of the past.  The net result, a good number of us, made up our minds to start travelling once there is an ‘unlock’, whatever may be the issues.  Some of us even took the ePasses and tried out travelling to nearby and even distances that were about five to six hours.  But then the lockdown mania came back with the second wave in 2021; those who had already travelled to Nature-based destinations created a new jargon – Staycations; wherein the whole family along with friends would camp for two, three or even four days, making the best of efforts to beat the clock.

No doubt Revenge Tourism sounds very violent, but it is the pent-up demand in the minds of the regular traveller and the prospective one who wants to get out of the home environment that comes to the fore.  Recently speaking to a Corporate Senior Executive, I realized the fact, there is a Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google meet fatigue, and in the Corporate considering that the Leaders would travel at the drop of a hat; an Executive with the intent of pun, said, “my frequent flyer miles are lying unutilized for a long time, it is high time, I use them and accumulate more………” 

In India, however, Revenge Tourism and Travel has given rise to Domestic movements, which was the primary intent of the Central Government to tip the Indians, Dekho Apna Desh campaign. 

Hence, Revenge Tourism and Travel is here to stay and will overwhelm itself over a while; as we saw the rush in Himachal Pradesh (near Parwanoo) once the unlock happened.

Excited to launch GT Workations!!!

We have created a thoughtful space for you to work remotely, from reliable WiFi to power backups, to ergonomic chairs and not to forget the good food. All this in the midst of nature, in the lush green Western Ghats. So when you are done with work there is a tonne of activities for you to do from BBQ under the stars to long hikes & more .

You could come with a group of friends, family or just by yourself. Check out our first property which is nestled in a Coffee Plantation in Sakleshpur >> https://gully.tours/workations/

What you need to know?
-It’s a 4 hours from Bangalore
-We open from Monday, 5th July
-Bookings open now!

& did we tell you it’s pet friendly!

…More to come 😊

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