Indians are traveling more and traveling differently than before. Sparked in large measure by the millennial generation, Indian travelers are forging new paths when it comes to leisure time as well as business travel. How are India’s 600 million millennial travelers changing the rules? Here are the facts.
It’s About Being There
Indians in the 18 to 34 age bracket, the millennials, aren’t interested in highly structured tour-based sightseeing vacations. Fixed itineraries and running from tourist trap to tourist trap aren’t in their plans. The trend instead is toward interacting with locals, learning new customs, making new friends and absorbing culture. Spontaneity and engaging in new experiences is what the typical Indian millennial traveler looks for.
Destination countries have taken notice. In an effort to attract Indian millennials, Tourism New Zealand tapped Bollywood celebrity Sidharth Malhotra as its ambassador. New Zealand offers a wide range of activities attractive to millennials and highlights adventure vacations specifically targeting the young Indian traveler. Popular activities include bungee jumping, cycling, skydiving and camping.
The Singapore Tourism Board conducted a study recently that indicated Indian millennial travelers spend more money per visit than travelers from other countries, with the exception of the Chinese. Indians tend to spend less on hotels and more on food. Dining is, in fact, the top spending category.
Travel booking, portal and agency websites are also taking notice of the increase in Indian millennial travelers. Many have hubs in India, where they hire and train dedicated professionals to better meet the needs of each Indian traveler. Millennials are also leading the way when it comes to booking packages online and using mobile apps to plan vacations.
Sometimes It’s Business
Another trend driven by Indian millennials is that of extending business trip stays to get in a little leisure time activity. Whether it’s sightseeing, taking on an adventure or simply relaxing after a business conference, mixing business and pleasure is becoming more common.
The hospitality industry is doing its part to make business travel more comfortable and less costly. Many hotels offer loyalty discounts, personal concierge services and perks that attract Indian millennial professionals.
The typical Indian business traveler demographic is changing as well. A group that used to be primarily middle-aged executives in suits is now largely made up of young men in jeans and, in growing numbers, young women. Today’s Indian business traveler has different needs and hotels are changing to accommodate them.
It’s the Experience that Counts
Indian millennial travelers are taking on the world in their own way. Many choose to vacation with close friends and family members. Some are going it alone. They shun strict schedules. They choose unconventional travel destinations. Bed and breakfasts are more popular than high-priced hotels. Trying local cuisine is a favorite travel activity. Mingling with the locals and learning about their culture is a top priority.
Indian millennial travelers, whether it’s a vacation, business trip or both, are driving the trend that travel is something to experience, not rush through. Instead, they prefer to stay off the beaten path.