As the country nears the end of the second phase of the nationwide lockdown on 3rd May, working professionals are anxiously waiting to return home or to their city of work once travel restrictions are relaxed within the country. A survey conducted by MakeMyTrip (NASDAQ: MMYT) indicates that Young Indian Workforce will lead the first phase of ‘immediate and essential travel’ – with 55% of the respondents, who are willing to travel immediately comprising of millennials or working professionals within the age group of 25 years to 35 years. Amongst the surveyed, while 40% are willing to stay put for the next few months until the situation improves, 25% have shown a strong sentiment towards travel immediately to return home or to their work city, visit friends & family, for business and for medical purposes.
The survey further distills travel opening in three key phases – starting with immediate and essential travel, followed by business travel which will be led by MSMEs and SMEs owners and other entrepreneurs travelling within a month or two post the lockdown period, and the third being leisure trips or holidays with family or friends that will commence only in the following quarters.
As people anticipate what post Covid-19 world will look like, travellers will be seen shifting towards conscious travel with people prioritizing social distancing and high safety standards. Findings reveal that over 57% travellers have shown a high preference for air travel, followed by 22% opting for self-drive cars suggesting an increase in the number for people preferring weekend getaways or travelling to nearby tourist destinations.
In parallel, accommodation choices are expected to see an equal degree of transformation with travellers choosing to book premium standardized properties that follow sanitization and hygiene protocols (38%) and staying at a friends or relatives place (25%) indicating the need for stringent hygenic standards. Some of the parameters that rank high on the consideration list of hotel bookers in the new travel world includes –opting for a hotel that prioritizes cleanliness and practices safety guidelines as directed by the World Health Organization & the government (69%); conducts regular sanitization of rooms and bed linens etc. (62%); employs well trained staff with adequate protective gears (52%); and offers an option to pay later with free cancellations up to 24 hrs. prior to the check-in (31%). Other factors include facilities for in-room dinning, availability of disposables for serving food and 24*7 helpline among others.
Commenting on the findings of survey, Sunil Suresh, Group Chief Marketing Officer, MakeMyTrip said “In these uncertain times, we are closely gauging customer sentiment to better understand what travel would look like once restrictions ease. While travel will take a while to normalize, our survey helps us understand specific customer needs and concerns. This will help us do all we can to help make our customers’ journeys easier and safer and also work closely with our partners to ensure that together, we are ready to address concerns and meet customer expectations.”