Changing Trends in Travelling Post COVID 19 with SOTC
What was traveling like, before the pandemic? The wanderer within might ask this repetitive question to you. Well, it’s not anything like wearing a mask, carrying sanitizers, and all of it. Life has changed. That followed a change in our way of thinking and behavior. Is this the “new normal”?
We look at our travel experts to understand the meaning of “new normal”. As Daniel D’Souza, President and Country Head, Leisure, SOTC Travel speaks with Media Infoline on the eve of World Tourism Day 2020. He underlines the new trends in traveling post-COVID 19 that are adopted by SOTC. Let’s embrace the change!
SOTC has witnessed a growing trend with customers choosing to opt for places that are close to home away from crowded cities. Seeing an uptick in inquiries for quick escapes like back to nature and beach destinations, workations and drivecations are a popular first choice. Top Domestic drivecation choices with travelers for a quick escape or break Kollam, Kumarakom, Thekkady, Marari, Wayanad. Other destinations include Mount Abu, Agra, Nainital, Alwar, Udaipur, Jaipur, Goa amongst others.
We see customers and corporates recognizing the value and peace of mind that booking with a reputed travel firm offers especially during these uncertain times. With the concept of Work from Home, there is a shift from vacation to remote working. There is clearly pent-up travel demand and added to this is the strong desire for a break due to lockdown restrictions.
With a trend in Bleisure trips combining work and vacation, mini getaways offer a perfect opportunity to work-life balance through a rejuvenating escapade from ones’ routine life. We have specifically launched packages for working people who might want to enjoy a break while on work at a nearby boutique property. We see an uptick in staycations due to the rise in stress levels during the lockdown. Staycations allow for people who are unable to get much time off work beside their weekends, to implement micro-breaks in their routine daily life for some well-needed rejuvenation and relaxation time.
There are certain factors that customers on Staycations/Bleisure trips are really specific about while deciding on going forward with travel. Top priorities include, safety protocol undertaken by the hotel where they plan to stay, variety in food requirements, and good internet services is paramount to a successful work vacation. As more and more customers recognize the value and peace of mind of booking with reputed brands, we have introduced a range of assured, insured & secured holidays in line with our Safe Travel program to suit our customer’s requirements. Hotels have been carefully selected to ensure WiFi access to stay connected with work. We have partnered with reputed brands like Marriott, Accor, Hilton that offer safe and clean label protocols in accordance with the World Health Organization and Ministry of Tourism guidelines.
With consumers opting for non-standard/eclectic accommodation such as a colonial bungalow, plantation villas (coffee /tea estates), heritage properties- palaces, to tap into the demand for non-standard/unique journeys, SOTC Travel, has introduced India’s Hidden Gems. Starting at an attractive price of Rs. 11 500.00*, the holidays include accommodation for 2 nights/3 days at 4-5 star hotels or delightful boutique properties, breakfast and additional dining experience, unique sightseeing, private transport, and travel insurance.
SOTC has also introduced Crazy Deals, offering All-inclusive Airfare deals with travel from Oct 2020. Benefits included: 30% saving on your holiday, No cancellation charges, Free rescheduling, guaranteed refund, Travel Insurance.
With international destinations such as Dubai and Maldives reopening for tourists there has been pent-up demand. Some of the exciting offers introduced by SOTC for the Maldives include Child Stays Free – Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Paradise Island Resort, Free Meal Upgrade – Biyadhoo Island Resort & Paradise Island Resort, Room Upgrade Offer- Kandima Maldives. SOTC has introduced Dubai Cricket Special at an attractive price of Rs. 15 100.00* The holidays seek to combine the cricketing extravaganza with a well-deserved break that offers attractive offers/discounts.
With a trend rising with consumers seeking to travel in smaller groups amongst known people – family, extended family, group of friends, SOTC Travel has introduced Private Journeys- aimed at ensuring the health and safety of customers, our premium, chauffeured van tours that have been strategically designed for smaller groups of family, extended family or friends.
To optimize this potential in domestic travel, SOTC Travel also launched Back To Life Holidays offering exclusive, secure, and self-contained experiences closer to home. To cater to this new desire of expectations, behavior, and preferences of the subsequently rising wave of conscientious consumers; SOTC’s handpicked bespoke offerings include themes like Staycations, Wellness, Experiential holidays, and Affordable luxury across cities and all budgets. SOTC Travel has brought flexible bookings with these affordable packages. The holidays start at INR 3990 and offer zero cancellation until 3 days of departure, a travel safe program, and travel insurance. With a shift in preference for reputed brands for trust, confidence, and reassurance, Back to Life Holidays present customers authentic experiences at exclusive properties and destinations amongst the most exquisite boutique hotels and the finest wellness resorts in India.
In the current situation, Indian travelers are keen to take a much-needed vacation and seek reassurance on safety and hygiene standards at all times. Health and safety today is the most important aspect of travel. To ensure a safe and healthy holiday and to rebuild confidence in traveling again our teams have carefully designed packages with a complete focus on health, safety, and affordability for customers.
To ensure flexibility in booking with SOTC, we offer a number of customer benefits like flexible cancellation and rescheduling options, minimal booking amount. As hygiene and safety have become vital factors for Indian travelers, our priority has been to ensure that our customers feel safe and comfortable while traveling with us. To build customer confidence about safety and health/hygiene standards in travel, our Assured- Safe Travel Program, a comprehensive guide to safe travel in the COVID-19 era in partnership with Apollo Clinics and Travel Insurance with COVID-19 related hospitalization have been incorporated in all our holiday propositions. In aiming to ensure health and safety for travelers, we are pleased to associate with ICMR accredited medical centers pan India, becoming the first travel service providers to offer seamless, end-to-end COVID-negative certification services. This would certainly go a long way in easing the current concerns of travelers and build trust and confidence.
As India plans ahead to extend its travel bubbles, to facilitate safe and smooth travel amongst travelers, SOTC has launched the Safe Holiday Helpline to provide up-to-date information on intra-state and country-specific regulations, on-ground safety measures, health, and visa protocols, etc. – under our Assured Safe Travel Program. With safety being the #1 concern for every traveler, this novel initiative helps restore confidence in customers, putting them at ease and helping them make informed travel decisions. Our focus has always been customer-centric and this initiative is an extension of that journey.
At SOTC, we strive to make our products, prices, and holiday designs convenient and affordable. In line with this commitment, we have introduced the SOTC Holiday Card that simplifies the travel experience and offers complete savings and benefits for the aspiring Indian traveler. Customers can plan their perfect holiday while enjoying maximum benefits and great savings. With attractive customer benefits like 15% Extra Cashback, 10% off on COVID-negative certification services, and discounts on ancillary services like visa and passport, the Holiday Card presents travel enthusiasts with an opportunity of a lifetime to book exciting tour packages across top international and domestic destinations.
*Per person on twin sharing basis
*Terms and conditions apply