Of 1,000 Payback Travel Survey Respondents, 60% Booked Hotels, 40% to Spend Less, 20% Plan Vacation

Industry Watch | October 29, 2020 | News

Payback Unomer

Payback, a multi-brand loyalty programme and its digital research partner Unomer carried out a survey of travel loyalists, as a part of the series ‘Festive’20 Consumer Sentiment Study’, the results of which point to a gradual revival of travel in the festive season.

The study examined the sentiments, preferences and outlook of around 1,000 respondents regarding travel in the festive season, post-COVID. The respondents were chosen on the basis of their travel behaviour in the past two years. They were in the age group of 25 to 50 years across 12 cities, including all metros and a few Tier 1 cities, with varying income thresholds.

Ramakant Khandelwal, CMO, Payback India, said, “Businesses are most impacted by the change in behaviour of their loyal members. Hence it is important to measure the sentiment of the loyalists, to gauge the true impact. Payback has created an integrated digital platform that provides brands with an opportunity to engage with the relevant member-base via meaningful conversations, be it for brand promotion or for consumer research. The current environment, which is replete with uncertainties, requires us to use the right data and levers to navigate the business challenges.  We are launching our first study, and now look forward to partnering with more brands on their consumer engagement strategies.”

Vinay  Bapna, CEO, Unomer, said, “This is a unique partnership between Payback and Unomer, where Payback has a large base of loyal consumers across brands and Unomer brings in technical and research expertise. This survey brings the best of both worlds together - we solicited feedback from consumers who have spent previously on travel and asked them specific questions on their travel plans during this Diwali/New Year and the impact of COVID-19. Our joint platform enables us to execute such outcomes from data selection to insights within 15 days and can truly help brands plan their go-to-market or consumer forecasts more efficiently and seamlessly.”

On the basis of insights from a survey conducted on travel loyalists (frequent travellers over the last two years), domestic travel is expected to see some revival, especially short or weekend travel. Top choices for travel mode were flights or self-drive, while safety and precautions were rated as the top preference as opposed to deals, which used to swing the vote previously. Some of the key takeaways of the survey are listed below:

Short travel breaks rule 2020

Since the first unlock, nearly 40% of the respondents have either gone back to their hometowns or for a weekend getaway. In the festive season, more than 20% respondents are planning a vacation with nearly one-third respondents in South and North India planning their trips. Nearly three-fourth of respondents chose domestic holidays, mostly a weekend or short getaways to nearby destinations. Long vacations and international holidays are off the table for the rest of 2020. Female respondents preferred long trips as opposed to male respondents who chose short vacations.

Females fasten the self-drive mode for short holidays

Nearly 50% respondents during the initial phases of unlock chose self-drive as the preferred mode for short holiday travels with young females leading the pack. North, West and South regions lead the preference for self-drive as trains or buses become the least likely choice (15%) even for short trips or getaways. However, in last few weeks, travel by flights is also seeing an uptick, specifically in the East and West regions garnering 50% preference.

More than 40% travellers will spend less than last year

More than 40% consumers will be spending less than last year this festive season, followed by 35% at same level and only 20% planning to spend more this year, only in the higher annual income households. Respondents in South cities chose to spend more followed by North India.

Deals take a backseat as safety and ratings drive travel

Nearly two-thirds of the respondent are booking their travel itineraries via online booking platforms versus the traditional travel agents. Close to 60% respondents have either booked or plan to book hotels for vacation stays and among them, nearly three-fourths are looking at safety precautions (higher than any other aspect), sanitization certificates and high star ratings as key booking criteria, as opposed to affordable rates, deals and offers which would swing the vote earlier. Over 60% respondents plan to go on vacation with their families, followed by 25% wanting to go with friends. Solo trips still do not find many takers (9%).

Less travel means more for home consumption

Other than holiday travel spends, other discretionary spends are also getting saved or diverted. There is growing preference for large and small appliances (60%), which emerged as an overwhelming choice, along with apparel (59%), followed by mobiles (45%) and home decor/improvement (37%). Respondents in South India have shown preference for large appliances and mobiles, whereas those in North, West and East regions have shown preference for small appliances and home improvement.


The study examined the sentiments, preferences and outlook of around 1,000 respondents regarding travel in the festive season, post COVID.

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