Off-season is the new season as far as travel is concerned. Travel service providers are seeing significantly higher growth in bookings during this time due to lower tariffs of hotel rooms and airlines.
Most travel destinations observe a high season and an off-season due to varying climatic conditions. Earlier, hotel operators and flight operators used to incur losses during off season due to very low tourist footfall. However, things are changing in the travel industry. With hotel and transportation tariffs reaching sky-high levels during high season, tourists now prefer to travel during off-season.
“We have been witnessing record number of queries for various destinations during the monsoon season this year. We have booked about 40 per cent higher number of packages for these destinations this year as compared to last year,” said Kapil Goswamy, CMD, BigBreaks.
Travellers see several benefits in off-season, including cheap accommodation, affordable flight fares and a break from maddening crowds, though the climate may not be at its best during off-season travel.
“The reason is simple. The overall budget of travel becomes astonishingly low, as much as 50 per cent, and you get greater ROI on your travel. Foreign destinations like Thailand, Dubai, Bali and Singapore also cost way less during the off-season. Thus, many people who keep pushing away their plans of foreign travels due to exorbitant costs involved, get the opportunity to fulfil them within their budget,” added Goswamy.
A study by Ixigo, a travel marketplace, also shows that the difference between domestic airfares for peak and off-season is about 45 per cent and for international airfares, it is about 18 per cent. “After a spike in fares over the last few weeks, all major airlines are now offering big discounts and other offers to attract travellers. Owing to this, flight fares for many popular sectors have dropped considerably. While flights from Mumbai to New Delhi show a week on week dip of 31 per cent, flights from New Delhi to Hyderabad are indicating a 24 per cent dip. Those flying from Bangalore to Pune will benefit from a 36 per cent drop in fares and those going from Chennai to Mumbai will enjoy 48 per cent lower prices,” said Aloke Bajpai, CEO & co-founder, Ixigo.
Cost is not the only consideration. Most of the destinations will be heavily crowded during the peak season and those who prefer to enjoy their vacation far from the madding crowd, find the opportunity during off-season.
“It is preferred by double income no kids young couples and senior citizens as they like to travel when the destination is not crowded,” said Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox & Kings.
Enjoying the monsoon has also become an excuse to go for an off-season vacation to destinations like Goa, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“Travel becomes far more affordable during the monsoon as it is a lean season in comparison to summer or winter. Major Indian airlines have announced their monsoon sales, offering big discounts on flights. Goa remains the most popular destination. Owing to improved infrastructure and better flight connectivity, north-eastern destinations like Shillong and Guwahati too are becoming crowd favourites,” said Bajpai.