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HomeNewsHotel rates soar as Indians seek cool retreats from sweltering plains

Hotel rates soar as Indians seek cool retreats from sweltering plains

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Seeking refuge from the sweltering plains will come at a cost this year, as hotel rates in hill stations throughout India are on the rise.

The JW Marriott Mussoorie Walnut Grove Resort & Spa in Uttarakhand is fully booked for this weekend, and securing a reservation for next week could cost around INR 40,000 per night.

Securing a fair price for a private suite at The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa in Gulmarg might prove to be a challenging endeavor, as tariffs are approximately INR 1.17 lakh per night for next week on the Booking.com travel portal.

As the weather department predicts heatwave conditions in multiple states, travel and hospitality companies anticipate a surge in hotel bookings for cooler destinations in April and the following two months.

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Nakul Khullar, proprietor of the Baragarh Resort & Spa in Manali, an IHCL SeleQtions establishment, reported that bookings for May have already surged by 40% compared to last year.

“As temperatures soar across much of peninsular India, travelers are increasingly searching for cooler destinations to evade the summer heat,” stated Santosh Kumar, Booking.com’s country manager for India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia.

“As per Booking.com Travel Predictions 2024, it’s observed that 74% of Indian travelers have emphasized climate change as a significant determinant in shaping their vacation plans. This inclination is steering them towards cooler destinations, with 76% expressing a strong inclination to seek refuge from the scorching heat during their holidays,” he stated.

“Ooty leads the rankings, followed by Manali, Kodaikanal, Rishikesh, Munnar, Lonavala, Darjeeling, and Mahabaleshwar as the other sought-after destinations this summer,” he added.

Shahzad Aslam, head of sales at Leisure Hotels Group, mentioned that despite the upcoming general elections, there is expected to be a minimum 10% increase in demand during the summer months compared to last year.

Rajeev Kale, president and country head for holidays, MICE, and Visa at Thomas Cook (India), noted that as temperatures climb, weekend getaways to cooler destinations like Coorg, Ooty, Munnar, Wayanad, Kodaikanal, Matheran-Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar, and Mussoorie are already experiencing a 15-20% year-on-year increase in bookings for the summer vacations beginning in May.

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“We are seeing an increase in advance bookings for cities like Kashmir. Reservations for Uttarakhand are up 15% year on year, while bookings for Northeast hill stations have increased 18% year on year. He added that reservations in Ooty, Munnar, Wayanad and Mahabaleshwar are up about 10-15% year on year.

Amit Damani, co-founder of the villa and bungalow rental company StayVista, reported that bookings for May’s upcoming dates are 15% higher than those of last year.

“The majority of our customers make their reservations 20 days or more in advance. However, we have noticed that customers are making reservations roughly 40 days in advance this month. In addition, visits are becoming longer, averaging five nights now instead of the customary three,” he said.

Daniel D’souza, president and country head for holidays at SOTC Travel, noted that as temperatures soar in various regions, Indians are opting for brief getaways to cooler destinations.

“Our data suggests that due to the rise in airfares to favored domestic destinations, Indians are favoring drivecations to nearby hill stations, leading to a surge in demand of around 20% compared to last year,” he stated.

“Premium getaways are practically sold out, particularly during weekends, and the inventory of hotels for well-liked summer hotspots such as Kashmir continues to operate at high occupancy,” he continued.

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