P K Mohankumar, former Taj Director and MD Ginger Hotel, also the founder of Turnstone Hospitality said that the outlook of business travel in 2021 has become positive and optimistic.
What is the outlook in business travel in 2021?
The outlook of 2021 in business travel is definitely positive and optimistic. Fortunately, post covid in India, as a country has relatively done better, and so far the community has developed certain resilience. Domestic travel is always generated in the country. Even though international travels are restricted, being the large market we can sustain ourselves purely on the bases of domestic demand.
There will be a resumption in travel, the healthiest thing is most of the sectors are back to normalcy. Both business and leisure travel are revived. There is going to be a domestic resumption, however, this work from home and the fact that the business community has found an alternative means of doing business in the digital space, in the sense also impacting business travel.
Have the prices changed or not?
There is no question of an increase in price; the whole approach of the hotel industry in India especially in the South is to drive up volume by focusing on occupancy by giving attractive discounted prices.
Do business people still travel around for business meetings? As many online meeting platforms are available.
The inbound travel from other countries is limited, however a lot of technicians, project managers like core experts who help to start a project, are visiting and having a long stay from abroad. Certainly, the business has come down except in New Delhi and Mumbai, where a lot of investors are coming back to India because of the favourable policies coming in the country. A lot of foreign business people are making their visits to India because of the attractive investment propositions.
As far as the Average Room Rate (ARR) is concerned there is cannibalisation. Almost 80 per cent are businessmen, though a lot of lady executives also come for their business meetings.
What is the occupancy rate?
The occupancy rate is fluctuating, in the metro cities, there is always a demand for the occupancies on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. However, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays there is a marked dip in the occupancy rate, almost 40-50 percent are down, as business people work for four days and get back home.