Listening to the India Market. Edition 1: Travel Trade Insights

Poonam Makhija
August 24, 2021
Posted in: India, Travel Trade

Industry Pros Weigh In On Today’s Travel Market: Mr. Sheldon Santwan, Editor-in-Chief & CEO, TravelBiz Monitor

Navigating the post-pandemic travel market is no easy task. With evolving travel restrictions and budget constraints, what do tourism marketing organisations need to know about the Indian Outbound Market? Mr. Sheldon Santwan, Editor-in-Chief & CEO of TravelBiz Monitor, weighs in on India’s resiliency and why India should be taken seriously in the recovery market. TravelBiz Monitor is India’s largest B2B travel media player in the print and online space with more than 300,000 industry professionals in its network.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

1. Pre-pandemic, fly-drive trips with deeper exploration of a single destination were gaining popularity among Indian FIT travellers, do you anticipate that trend to continue?

Yes, I do. In fact, I expect fly-drive to gain popularity as people seek more remote and isolated destinations post-pandemic. They will look for getaways farther from the more populated areas, private holidays and great destinations to drive to.

India’s strict lockdown measures have fueled demand for short-haul travel and luxury stays. Destinations like Switzerland are benefiting from this surge in Indian travelers and outpacing other international source markets.
2. What other travel trends do you see gaining traction in the market?

– Short-haul holidays
-More frequent trips
-Single destination trips
-More family and FIT travel, less groups
-Private holidays in villas, island getaways, etc.
-Safety more important than cost
-Shopping trips
-Destination weddings increasing
-Experiential travel, and adventure travel will grow
-Younger demographics will travel first

3. Some global destinations have recently resumed Indian market campaigns and in-market activities, how do you think travel brands can stand out from the crowd?

Travel will commence first with the destinations that are currently active with the Indian travel trade. In order for travel brands to stand out from the crowd, they should:

-Maintain top-of-mind recall
-Conduct market research and surveys now
-Introduce niche products
-Incentivise the trade to push the product and create destination specialists
-Promote safety as a Unique Selling Proposition
-Offer India-centric products or tailor-made offerings
-Maximise media coverage and tap new segments of travel

Most importantly, travel brands need to take the Indian Outbound Tourism segment seriously.

4. As global travel resumes, what do you think destinations need to do to attract more Indian travellers?

India is a huge Outbound Market. Indians are very resilient travellers and are likely to start travelling farther much quicker than others. The Indian travel segment has historically always bounced back the quickest from any natural or man-made calamities.

To take advantage of this fact, destinations need to increase their presence and promotions in the Indian market. Education and training for the Indian travel trade on their products is key, as is new and innovative offerings to attract Indian outbound travellers.

Mr. Sheldon Santwan, TravelBiz Monitor, Editor-in-Chief & CEO

TravelBiz Monitor is India’s largest B2B travel media player in the print and online space catering to all verticals – airlines, hotels, travel agents, national tourism boards, international tourism boards, tour operators, online travel agents, global distribution companies, cruise liners and government-related organizations. The magazine and online portal provides a holistic focus streamlining news and analysis relevant to the Indian travel and tourism industry. Having established credibility over 14 years in the publishing & events space, it has captive communities and a relevant audience for all B2B activities. Innovators in ideas such as E-Learning Specialist Programmes, Training Modules, Webinars & Knowledge-driven offline events, TravelBiz Monitor has over 300,000 Indian travel industry professionals in its network.

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