The global pandemic put an immediate halt on travel, and while restrictions have started to ease in many parts of the world, the financial legacy of COVID-19 will linger for much longer. While travellers may still be keen to resume travelling as soon as it is safe, they will be far more focused on value for money, booking transparency and flexibility now more than before.

Booking.com reveals that 70% of Indian travellers believe they will be more price-conscious when it comes to searching and planning a trip following COVID-19 and 64% are more likely to hunt down for promotions and savings. 74% expect travel companies to support their future travel plans via discounts and promotions.

Destinations with deals

As finances top the priorities list, travellers will shift their choice of destination too, with many once sought-after destinations falling off the ‘bucket list’. 57% of Indian travellers say they will opt for a discounted trip to a place they wouldn’t have otherwise chosen, rather than paying more for a dream destination. Besides Indians, this money-saving sacrifice appeals most to Thai (58%) and Vietnamese (55%) travellers.

We’ll also see value placed on immediacy with almost 62% of Indian travellers favoring a trip they could afford in the short-term rather than saving for a dream trip with more uncertainty.

Looking for flexible travel

But traveller demand for value will run deeper than simply the price tag. Nervousness around the prospect of having to cancel a trip means flexibility will be key with 77% of Indian travellers saying travel platforms need to add value by increasing transparency about cancellation policies, refund processes, and trip insurance options. Flexibility will also be top-of-mind with 38% of travellers saying they will consider refundable accommodation a must-have and 36% will want the flexibility to change the check-in dates without being charged.

Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com  said, “The effect of COVID-19 has and will continue to evolve the way we travel, impacting our choices and decisions in the near future. With the financial strain of the pandemic felt by many throughout India, the travel industry will need to come together and respond inventively to offer deeper value, better choice, increased flexibility and transparency to the travellers. Maximizing travel for less will be the new normal in 2021 and beyond. To meet the evolved travel demands and expectations, Booking.com is committed to offer enhanced, safe and thoughtful experiences for tomorrow’s travellers as they scrutinize their travel spends going forward.”

As 2021 rolls closer and closer, the way travellers plan to experience the world will continue to evolve. No matter the evolution though, one thing is for sure: travellers will be prioritizing value more than ever.

Research Methodology:

-Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sample of adults who have traveled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted).

-In total 20,934 respondents across 28 countries were polled (including 999 from USA, 496 from Canada, 497 from Mexico, 997 from Colombia, 999 from Brazil, 499 from Argentina, 995 from Australia, 499 from New Zealand, 999 from Spain, 996 from Italy, 996 from France, 999 from UK, 996 from Germany, 498 from Netherlands, 499 from Denmark, 499 from Sweden, 498 from Croatia, 1001 from Russia, 498 from Israel, 997 from India, 994 from China, 499 from Hong Kong, 497 from Thailand, 496 from Singapore, 499 from Taiwan, 997 from South Korea, 500 from Vietnam, and 995 from Japan).

-Respondents completed an online survey in July 2020

-Based on the share of filter users who used the “pet-friendly” filter, comparing the average use of the filter across 2019

-Based on endorsements left on Booking.com as part of post-stay reviews. Insight based on endorsements that saw the biggest increase in monthly usage between April 1, 2020 and September 11, 2020, compared to the average monthly endorsements between January 2019 and February 2020

-Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 50,688 respondents across 29 markets.

-To participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 or older, have traveled at least once in the past 12 month, and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel.

-The survey was taken online in November 2019

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