Christmas and New Year celebrations have come about as a silver lining for the hospitality industry which has been among the worst-impacted sectors due to the lockdowns and the pandemic.
More and more people are moving outstation on staycations of three to four days, along with their friends and families. The national capital, despite the rising number of novel coronavirus cases, has been among the favoured destinations for tourists, with an average occupancy rate in hotels remaining above 60 per cent level.
Some of the hotels hosting popular parties and year-end events have also seen packed bookings even on skyrocketing prices.
This rise in demand for hotel rooms comes on the back of discounts, offers and packages along with fatigue among the common people triggered due to the lockdowns and the pandemic.
Hotel Association of India's (HAI) Vice President KB Kachru told that the occupancy rate is moving in the right direction. He said that while in some places, the rise in demand has been steep, others are improving moderately.
Kachru noted that most hotels are offering packages. Across the country, the average occupancy rate of hotels is 80 per cent currently ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Rohit Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer, OYO India & South Asia told that the besides customer demand, post the gradual unlocks, between October 2020 and December 2020, OYO has also observed a five-fold jump in demand for leisure destinations driven by local travel agents or the offline channel. This demand has been broadly led by Goa, Jaipur, Udaipur and hill stations located in north India, he added.
"Currently, our occupancy has recovered to 45 per cent of pre-Covid levels with room nights sold increasing over 40 per cent month-on-month. The demand we are witnessing is fairly distributed and holiday patterns have changed tremendously. The holiday season has come as a huge breather for the tourism and hospitality ecosystem," he said.
"With the gradual unlocks, combined with consumers' aspirations to travel again after staying indoors for months together, we're seeing a steady demand for leisure travel since the festive season kicked in around October 2020," Kapoor added.
He said that OYO's top 12 leisure destinations accounted for 55 per cent of demand across India. This December, with Christmas and New Years' on the horizon, this sentiment continues to rise and the hotel chain is seeing an uptick in bookings for the holiday season across leisure destinations like Goa and Himachal Pradesh for December 30, 2020 and January 1, 2021.
Kush Kapoor, CEO of Roseate Hotels and Resorts observed that there is a growing trend of staycations and people are driving down to closer destinations as there is pent-up demand.
"People are booking year-end holidays and while we have queries for 1-2 night of stay, we are also seeing longer holidays as people don't need to rush back to work and can work remotely," he said.
He said that the company's Rishikesh property - The Roseate Ganges- has mostly witnessed rooms being mostly sold out for December and many guests have booked for week-long holidays.
"For The Roseate, we have seen a spike in staycations being booked by Delhiites itself as it is a resort property in the city. By this time the word is out that hotels are following strict protocols and safety measures, so people are letting their hair down to ring in the year and booking domestic holidays without much hesitation," the Roseate Hotels CEO said.
Roseate Hotels and Resorts has come up with festive offers with specially curated staycation packages along with dine-in options at their signature restaurants.
OYO's Kapoor was of the view that going ahead leisure markets will see a spurt in demand leading to near-pre-Covid level occupancies.
Although demand has somewhat revived since the 'no revenue' days of the April-June, low prices and eventual low revenue has been a matter of concern of the hoteliers.
Kachru said that the average daily revenue is still low and is likely to take some time to increase to sustainable levels.