Leisure travel, exploring new destinations to dominate in 2021: InterMiles

InterMiles, a leading loyalty and rewards programme, has published results of their second travel survey in the ‘Consumer Sentiment Index Report (Travel) 2.0’. Based on responses received from over 11,500 InterMilers across India in January 2021, the report showcases insights and changing consumption patterns of the evolved Indian traveller.

Key Insights:

Leisure travel leads the way in 2021, with close to 65% respondents craving to travel and break away from monotony as they explore new places

While the year 2020 witnessed the rise of the essential traveller, the new and evolved 2021 Indian traveller is looking for adventure and is keen on exploring new destinations, in an attempt to leave behind the monotony of 2020. The roll-out of vaccines and pragmatic innovations across the travel chain seem to have contributed to this increase in consumer confidence. Almost 65% Indians have shown intent to travel for leisure and adventure in 2021.

After spending almost a year distancing socially, 54% Indians say they want to travel to meet family and friends.  

Business and corporate travel, which was anticipated to be one of the first segments to recover, is surprisingly third on the list of traveller priorities. However, business travel is anticipated to pick-up through the course of the year, with 85% consumers in favour of considering business/ work travel in 2021.

The workcation trend is also picking up steam in India, with travellers looking for a change of scenery as they fulfill their work obligations. Armed with their laptops and the Internet, these digital nomads are more likely to stay away from touristy locations, and head to offbeat places. Mirroring and supporting this trend, India is already seeing the advent of several backpacking hostels, budget-friendly work-centric rentals, camper vans and workation packages.

Over 60% Indians expressed confidence in domestic, local and hyperlocal travel

In what is good news for an industry battered by the pandemic, InterMiles has seen a significant increase in positive travel sentiment across various verticals in 2021 – which is expected to be the year of travel revival in India.

A comparison between InterMiles’ maiden Consumer Sentiment Index (based on responses collected in October 2020) and the recently published Consumer Sentiment Index (Travel) 2.0 (based on responses collected in January 2021), clearly displays an increase in intent to travel.

Additionally, 60% respondents are now also comfortable with remote or offbeat short stays.

Consumers most confident with air travel, after personal vehicles

Fuelling the self-drive trend that emerged last year, highest levels of comfort continue to be witnessed with personal vehicles. In contrast, 39% respondents are still not comfortable with any mode of public transport, including taxis, autos, trains and buses.

Flexibility in date changes and last-minute free cancellation policies are key factors when making travel decisions

While travel post-COVID-19 has predominantly been dependent on visual and actual assurance through safety & hygiene measures along with travel advisories issued by destinations, ‘flexibility’ seems to be the new buzzword on the block. Given the unpredictability and arbitrary nature of the COVID-19 virus, consumers want to ensure their travel plans are as flexible as possible at minimum cost.

According to the survey, 64% respondents will look for flexibility to change dates before making concrete travel decisions, while 62% will look for last minute free cancellations.


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