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Homing in on the perfect experiential holiday: the rise in popularity of Luxury Villas over hotels amongst Indian travellers

Ankita Sheth
19th Dec 2018
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Who doesn’t like a quick weekend trip to break from work and life stress? Indians, especially millennials, are increasingly opting for quick breaks in quirky and conventionally beautiful Villas rather than going to impersonal hotels.

It is remarkable how much our physical body suffers while we chase crazy targets on little sleep and fast food. Not to mention what this running around does to your mental health. This is why people end up being saddled with physical fatigue and mental burnout. A short trip can help rejuvenate our tired bodies and stressed minds, helping us recover and start afresh. And this is why weekend getaway trips to popular destinations are registering increased consumer demand, especially amongst millennial travellers.

Short trips, lasting highs

According to BCG Google Travel Trends Report, India’s travel market is projected to grow at a rate of 11 percent to 11.5 percent and will be worth $48 billion by 2020. In recent times, India has seen a 14.4-percent year-on-year increase in foreign tourist arrivals. Business tourism too is expected to grow three-fold by 2030 from $30 billion in 2015. While it’s still in its early stages, the luxury homestays segment is gradually gaining a strong foothold in the Indian hospitality market and would be worth $3 billion by 2020 according to July 2017 report by the Boston Consulting Group.  And what makes weekend getaways such a unique proposition is the fact that they don’t require detailed planning or large budgets and can be arranged for large groups at a moment’s notice. You can take one with your family or friends for less than a quarter of the cost of a planned long holiday – all by simply driving to a nearby destination.

Moreover, since these trips are mostly taken during weekends or extended weekends, they allow for larger groups to travel together without disrupting anyone’s schedule. Such flexibility is particularly well-suited for today’s on-the-go millennial population.

However, spending quality time with people you care about, as you bond and reconnect with them, requires an exclusive and private setting which allows for such intimate interactions to happen effortlessly. This requirement is something which a hotel stay cannot fulfil It is, by its very nature, not conducive to the informal, unfettered spaces that vacationing with a group requires.

This need for exclusivity, privacy, and novelty is driving new-age travellers to choose such properties during their short vacations with their near and dear ones. These holiday villas can provide every amenity that a hotel can – swimming pools, in-house theatres, gyms, courts for sports, steam rooms – you name it. All this, with the kind of privacy and informality that hotels cannot match. With an entirely private space available to them, guests have the option of choosing the kind of stay that they want: from wild parties with fellow buccaneers to relaxing retreats that heal the body and mind.

Luxury villas are also usually located in areas that are rich in natural beauty and local culture. This is because most such properties are constructed as holiday homes by owners who want a beautiful place that they can escape to. A majority of such villas are also pet-friendly and have sufficient space for the guests’ furry companions to play around in.

Mixing business with leisure: corporate demand for luxury homestays

With so much to offer, homestays – especially luxury homestays – are becoming popular amongst corporates looking to organise office retreats, offsites, and strategy planning sessions. The informal vibe of such homes is perfect to facilitate personal interactions among fellow professionals, while the setting brings out the best of their creativity. These holiday homes are also attracting wedding photographers, TV/movie crews, and fashion and lifestyle brands, as a luxury home in a gorgeous, the natural setting makes it absolutely convenient to stay and shoot.

The concept of weekend getaways to a homestay is finding rapid adoption amongst Indian travellers. From celebrating special occasions to just escaping the hustle-bustle of the city life for a while, more and more individuals are booking their stays at holiday homes. According to BCG Google Travel Trends Report ‘Airbnb listings in India have grown by 115% over the past year. We have also witnessed almost two times growth in the number of nights booked on Airbnb in India since 2016.’ Additionally, there are other players in this market who play an active role in curating and managing the best ones, thus ensuring a smooth experience for guests as well as holiday home owners. While alternative stays or non-hotel accommodations in India currently occupy a small portion of the entire Indian hospitality market, the industry will continue to register steady growth with the increasing market demand and tech-led solutions that customise getaway experiences.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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