As the world has gradually reopened, “revenge travel” — the desire to travel after being locked down for months because of Covid-19 regulations — has been one of the most significant phenomenons of the post-pandemic era so far in India. Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip, India’s largest online travel booking platform, has been at the center of enabling these experiences. However, the last two years have also changed what travelers expect from the online tourism industry, said co-founder Rajesh Magow.
How has Covid-19 changed the way Indians use online travel?
Indian travelers online now demand more from their experience, leading many to opt for ultra-premium or premium category hotels, homestays, independent villas, and non-hotels. There has been a natural prioritization of safety, and such “safety-seeking” behavior includes a preference to travel in close-knit groups, opting to self-drive, and preferring no-touch check-ins. Some of these changes will help in ensuring the viability and sustainability of the tourism sector in the future.
What is the one big misconception people have about post-pandemic travel?
The initial wave of Covid brought in a lot of chaos, ambiguity, and restlessness amongst travelers, and a lot of disinformation was available online. The overwhelming situation led to some misconceptions including skepticism towards vaccination owing to incorrect information, and having limited knowledge about medical insurance during travel.
What do you keep in mind while planning your own trips now?
I am an avid traveler and like everyone else, safety continues to be a key criterion for me. Pandemic travel has been more about indoor experiences and zeroing in on accommodations that allow experiences I cherish. Destinations where I can maximize outdoor time are a natural choice. Flexibility in date change and cancellations are another big priority for me while booking travel.