How to lock your flight fares, travel like royalty! This festive season is all about flexibility and air travel

Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles & Orient Express highlights that several extraordinary resort projects are making headlines with the opening of Raffles Udaipur and Raffles The Palm, Dubai.( Image: Raffles The Palm, Dubai)

It’s easy to bask in festive vibes this season and travel like royalty! With more and more people keen to travel abroad, there is also an increasing demand surge during the festive season and long weekends. Digital travel platforms such as MakeMyTrip, Agoda and Booking.com are rolling out unique initiatives to keep the uptick in travel demand more personalised and affordable.

According to Rajesh Magow, MakeMyTrip’s Co-Founder & Group CEO, “Flexibility is the future of travel. It is how we want to build demand and put consumer confidence in booking travel freely just as people did before the Covid pandemic.”

What if you can lock flight fares for your travel date?

For instance, MakeMyTrip’s latest partnership with Hopper, one of the leading travel booking apps, enables travellers to save money with flexible travel booking options and personalised recommendations.

Flyers are increasingly adopting the usage of MakeMyTrip recently launched Price Lock feature to lock flight fares for up to seven days while in the process of finalising their travel plans for the coming months.

Frederic Lalonde, CEO & Co-Founder of Hopper expresses an optimistic travel outlook, “Consumer expectations have changed over the last year. Flexibility is a make-it or break-it factor for travellers. Our Price Freeze technology will empower travellers on MakeMyTrip to plan their trips with peace of mind.”

Not just domestic destinations, international leisure destinations are also witnessing a clear surge in bookings.

Daniel D’Souza, President and Country Head, SOTC Travel tells FinancialExpress.com, “With the number of fully vaccinated travellers on the rise, coupled with reopening of borders, confidence in air travel is on the rise. We are witnessing a surge in bookings for air inclusive travels to Dubai, Maldives, Europe etc for international destinations.”

Air Travel confidence is back!

The festive-inspired travel resurgence has been in the works for a while as indicated by an uptick in demand for travel bookings.

Rajesh Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook India welcomed the Government of India’s announcement of permitting domestic carriers to operate at 100 per cent of their pre-COVID capacity from October 18, 2021.

In his words, “With consumer confidence and a surge in demand for the Dussehra-Diwali and Christmas-New Year season, the announcement could not have come at a better time.”

“From a corporate MICE perspective too, this offers significant scope for domestic incentive groups serving to catalyse overall recovery for the travel and tourism industry,” Rajesh Kale adds.

UAE Expo 2020: Taj Hotels in Dubai rolls out the red carpet!

Interestingly, Dubai ranks as one of the most popular leisure and business destinations for Indians in 2021, according to Agoda’s travel bookings data.

With international travel picking up with renewed interest in the UAE Expo 2020, the Taj Hotels in Dubai, Taj Dubai and Taj Jumeirah Lakes Towers are offering exceptional luxury stays and dining experiences for travelers to the long awaited UAE Expo 2020. In fact, Taj Dubai is all set to showcase its signature restaurant called Bombay Brasserie, with its eclectic range of classic and contemporary Indian cuisines.

Dubai: Favourite destination with Indian travellers

Clearly, international travel is now opening up and Dubai is emerging as an amazing hotspot for Indian Travellers.

Agnes Roquerfort, Accor’s Chief Development Officer, is of the view that resort travel is witnessing a surge in demand as the pandemic has triggered people’s desire to travel to their dream destinations and experience the world in either small groups or with their families.

Notably, this observation comes in the context of the recent launch of Raffles The Palm, Dubai on October 1, 2021. With more than 389 luxury guest rooms, the hotel is located on Palm Jumeirah, which is known to be one of the world’s largest man-made islands and archipelago.

Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles & Orient Express highlights that several extraordinary resort projects are making headlines with the opening of Raffles Udaipur and Raffles The Palm, Dubai.

Meanwhile, Krishna Rathi, Country Director, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, Agoda says, “For Indian travellers, this year’s UAE Expo provides an even greater excuse to take some of their great maiden international trips.”

What to expect at UAE Expo 2020

Agoda is rolling out tempting offers for travellers at the UAE Expo 2020. The much anticipated UAE Expo blends in a symbiosis of food, culture and sustainable tourism, this October till March 2022, thereby bringing together over 192 countries under one roof.

Spanning educational-themed weeks that cover climate to space, music productions, music shows, street theatre, art and culture and architecture, the UAE Expo covers it all.

International digital travel booking platform Agoda informs that Indian travellers can avail an additional 12% discount when using their Visa credit card for their travel bookings of greater value.

Air Arabia Holidays in India

Given the robust and growing opportunity in the international travel segment, Thomas Cook (India) Limited, and its Group Company, SOTC Travel Ltd, have inked a 3-year agreement with Air Arabia, to deliver a range of customisable air-inclusive holidays for India’s varied travel segments spanning families, couples, millennials, groups of friends travelling together, senior travellers and B-leisure customers as well.

For Indian travellers, the key benefit is to leverage the attractively priced bundled holiday products that bring together the respective strengths of Thomas Cook India, SOTC and Air Arabia, with an added advantage of ready-to-book holiday options, customisable itineraries and more.

Mahesh Iyer, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd expressed confidence that the strategic agreement with Air Arabia will benefit Indian travellers, “The consumer advantage is significant; it leverages the strengths of Air Arabia’s air-product pricing network with diverse holiday options, combined buying power of Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC – leaders in the holidays domain.”

What’s more exciting than a cricket match between India and Pakistan?

Meanwhile, Booking.com has rolled out an even more tempting offer this festive season for Indian cricket fans! For die-hard cricket fans in India, nothing can be as exciting as watching a match between India and Pakistan on the cricket field!

As the official Accommodation Booking Partner for the ICC T20 Men’s World Cup, Booking.com is rolling out a tempting offer to Indian cricket fans.

A cricket-themed luxury stay, the platform’s specially created T20 Pavilion at the Presidential Suite at The Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel & Residences that will excite cricket enthusiasts.

How to Book T20 Pavilion at the Presidential Suite at The Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel & Residences

Cricket fans can enjoy the much awaited IND vs Pak T20 World Cup Match at ‘The T20 Pavilion – An Ultimate Cricket Stay’ in India.

Booking.com offers a personalised experience including personalised cricket jerseys to props that include flags and whistles, just to ensure that there is no stopping the excitement for Indian cricket fans to keep cheering for their favourite team.

For cricket fans who are keen to book their stay, this offer opens on 16th October 2021 from 4.30 PM onwards.

Lucky fans can expect live action at The T20 Pavilion Suite and get an exclusive opportunity to meet Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor.

Highlighting that cricket is not just a sport in India but an emotion that unites the whole country, Booking.com’s Regional Manager, South Asia says, “The T20 Pavilion is a once in a lifetime opportunity for cricket fans to feel the vibe and energy of a classic cricket stadium that is recreated at a luxury hotel suite in Mumbai….we hope to create unforgettable off-the-pitch memories and experiences for Indian cricket fans.”

However, the stay is available only for those guests who are fully vaccinated.

Big shift! From Emergency Travel to Leisure Demands

“There has been a shift from emergency travel to leisure demands. Our current demand is at 60 to 70% more and witnessing an uptick for Dubai with Expo 2020 being a major attraction, Switzerland and France, while Maldives continues to be a favourite,” Daniel D’Souza, President and Country Head, SOTC Travel informs FinancialExpress.com.

It’s easy to welcome these travel trends back simply because the pandemic has taught the world to value time, space and safety and as all would agree, travelling never stopped being fun!

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