Thomas Cook (India) Group, India's leading integrated travel and travel related financial services company, witnessed aggressive growth in holiday uptake during the Diwali festive season, with a surge of 30% for its domestic tours and 26% for its international destinations.
Thomas Cook India's internal data had revealed a significant and growing trend of Indians preferring to travel rather than stay at home during key festivals. To capitalise on this trend, the Company launched a series of attractive packages and value offers, which when coupled with airline deals, served well to catalyse consumer demand.
Asia short hauls and visa-on-arrival destinations ranked on top of the leader-board; Thomas Cook India's Asia Group Tours seeing a surge of over 30%, compared to the same period of 2016. Favoured destinations included Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Malaysia and Japan. Additionally, favourites like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Egypt showed high demand this year.
Diwali and card parties are almost synonymous and interestingly, the Company's tours to Macau with casino experiences saw a spike of 20%. Long haul destinations that featured well in Thomas Cook's Festive growth story included Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
From a Domestic perspective, Thomas Cook India recorded strong demand with destinations like Andamans, Bhutan, the Rann of Kutch-Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa, Nepal, Coorg and Kerala's backwaters.
A clear trend witnessed this season was of Indians clubbing festive holidays with long weekends, resulting in "extended stays." A traditional 5 nights overseas tour saw an extension to 8-9 nights. Accordingly, spends also rose substantially from an average Rs 1 Lakh to Rs 1.2 lakhs per person for an all-inclusive tour.
Thomas Cook India highlighted that last-minute bookings were the norm this season, with a mere 15-30 day booking window- a significant shift from the traditional 2-3 months of previous years.
The family segment was a power driver contributing 55% of Thomas Cook's volumes; followed closely by ad-hoc groups of friends contributing 40% this season. A significant surge was observed from millennials who took advantage of the company's offers to book a short work-break.
Experiential travel was a focussed trend this season, especially from the company's millennial segment: traditional Diwali card parties were replaced with casino experiences in Macao; self-drive holidays saw high demand courtesy Thomas Cook's "fuel free" New Zealand offer; spa–wellness and ayurveda saw strong uptake in Kerala and Korea; water sports-scuba diving was popular in The Andamans and sports like kick boxing, abseiling and kite surfing in Thailand.
Mr. Rajeev Kale –President & Country Head Leisure Travel & M.I.C.E, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, said, "Today's travel hungry Indian consumer is quick to leverage festivals by clubbing them with weekends to create longer holidays-an apt opportunity to indulge in family bonding or a well-deserved break to rejuvenate/ recharge. Our sales teams have reported a significant surge this Diwali festive season and this is an encouraging trend."