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‘In 2023, price-driven travel continues to be the name of the game for travellers’

Mohit Joshi, Skyscanner Travel Expert, in a conversation with Disha Shah Ghosh sheds light on their latest report and its findings, to decode the travel patterns of Indian travellers in 2023.

Q. Enumerate on the key findings of the Skyscanner Travel in Focus 2023 report.

We’re thrilled to share the insights from our Travel in Focus 2023 Report, which shines a light on the evolving trends in traveller behaviour in India. The survey findings are crystal clear: in 2023, price-driven travel continues to be the name of the game for travellers. Despite the ongoing recovery in the travel industry, people are still all about those international trips and relishing the freedom to explore. Through our results, I’d like to take you through the travel mood of Indians, what gets people excited about planning their holidays, clever ways to save money on international vacations, and the travel styles that are making waves.

• Indian travellers are the masters of planning! A staggering 72% of respondents love nothing more than meticulously planning their trips.
• Circling back on my first point, price-driven travel definitely continues to be the top priority for Indian travellers in 2023. Through the survey, we found that travellers are still captivated by the allure of international trips. They’re embracing the newfound freedom to explore and discover new horizons. It’s clear that travel is still very much on the agenda for Indian jet-setters, with a majority of them (54%) even hoping to squeeze in one more trip if they’ve got some spare cash at the end of the year.
• We discovered that almost 47% of Indian travellers are more than willing to shake things up if they stumble upon better deals. When it comes to international holidays, Indians are even open to choosing destinations that are more budget-friendly (35%) or adjusting their travel dates (33%) to get the best bang for their buck.
• There’s no doubt that Cricket holds a special place in the hearts of Indians, and a whopping 75% of them are willing to stretch their travel budget to experience live matches. And if you’re a true blue Cricket fan, the upcoming 2023 Cricket World Cup in October should be already on your radar.
• Our report also shows that, Indian travellers are all about taking it easy and immersing themselves in the local culture. We found that a significant portion of travellers (46%) are opting for immersive travel experiences over a fast-paced itinerary (40%). They’ve realised that it’s not about ticking off as many destinations as possible; it’s about truly connecting with the places they visit. Our data reveals that over 38% of Indian travellers spend more than a month in a single destination, whether it’s within India or beyond.
• As travellers today, we seek meaningful adventures centred around specific activities, and Indian globetrotters are no exception. More than half of our survey-takers (55%) are planning purpose-related travel in India. Whether it’s scuba diving, golf, yoga, wellness retreats, or witnessing thrilling cricket matches, we’re all about creating memories with a purpose. And guess what? Half of us are already planning visits to holy places within the next six months.
For all the travel preferences flagged by Indian travellers as important, we recommend the following travel hacks that can help bag a bargain quickly:
Be price smart: Setting up price alerts will ensure you’re the first to know as prices drop with any additional discounts or added supply. You can mark a flight you’re interested in and Skyscanner will email you whenever there’s a price drop.
• Try a new destination: Many of us are still trying to appease the ‘revenge travel’ mode in us, and are therefore always on lookout for inspiration. Skyscanner offers travellers a unique ‘Everywhere’ search opportunity to ensure you can find the best available possibilities for your trip. Swapping your usual break in Bali for Fiji for example, could be an unexpected delight. So let the algorithms decide with a search to ‘Everywhere’, which will present a plethora of options based on your travel dates, all ranked by price.
• Be flexible with dates: Skyscanner’s ‘whole month’ search tool allows you to see cheap flights immediately and pick the right deal for you. Consider travelling a day before or a day after your original departure dates, flying on less popular days of the week is always cheaper.
• Mix & Match to save $$$: Not just a summer fashion trend, mixing and matching the airlines and airports you choose to fly with can seriously cut costs. Fares don’t have to be booked as returns, look at flying out with one airline and back with another, or out of one airport and back into another.

Q. With soaring inflation, visa issues, and geopolitical tensions in various parts of the world, travel has become expensive. At a time like this, how has the spending behaviour of travellers changed in 2023?

Our Travel in Focus 2023 Report reveals that while cost remains a consideration, the good news is that travel is still high on the agenda for Indian globetrotters. They navigate costs like pros, with a whopping 47% of them choosing to change their itineraries if they stumble upon better deals. We know that Indian travellers still yearn to go abroad despite visa challenges, and they remain cost-savvy by opting for nearer destinations (35%) and travelling during off-peak seasons (33%). 72% of Indian travellers still like to plan for their travels though, and the Skyscanner Price Alerts come in handy for that as it allows travellers to be notified of price changes for destinations they are after, without compromising on budget. It’s all about being savvy and strategic when it comes to planning those getaways.

Q. Which are some of the new destinations in APAC that have gained momentum for outbound travel from India?

Based on Skyscanner search data, rising APAC destinations for Indian travellers are Bali, Bangkok, Sydney, Singapore and Melbourne, with Bali and Bangkok consistently remaining at the top, most likely due to its close proximity and visa-on arrival benefit for Indian travellers. Another hot favourite for Indians is Dubai, in fact, searches from Mumbai to Dubai has increased by 133% when compared to the last 28 days, for the next 6 departure months.

Q. How effective has been the online medium for booking international holidays?

The rise of online travel booking platforms has completely transformed how people in India plan their trips, giving them a new level of convenience and options. Travel has always been complex, and arguably, it is now more complex than it has ever been before – layering Covid safety and health concerns on top of traditional anxiety-inducing complexities such as flight times, airport selection, multiple stops and price. There’s a genuine need right now for meta search platforms like Skyscanner – helping travellers see and compare several possible travel options in one place, that are unbiased; and connect travellers with providers that are best able to cater to their particular needs, whether it be price or flexibility.

Q. What are the trends observed for high-end travel from India?
From our survey, we know that Indian travellers prefer experience-based travels, with over 55% of Indian travellers prioritising their trips around wellness retreats that focus on self, as well as sports retreats like golf, scuba diving and yoga. From our findings, high-end travel it seems, could be interpreted as quality travel that focuses on well-being, something we definitely see trending among travellers around the world. For example, data from the Skyscanner Travel in Focus report reveals that one in every two Indians, accounting for 57% of the population, actively plans to visit holy sites within the next six months. 38% of Indian travellers have also indicated that they will be willing to invest more, to attend live cricket matches – which once again reiterates how more travellers are seeking trips that are fulfilling the experiences they are after.

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