Thomas Cook-SOTC to tap booming women travellers’ segment

Celebrating women travellers on International Women’s Day

Tourism

March 8, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Thomas Cook-SOTC to tap booming women travellers’ segment

Second Holiday Readiness Report (December 2020), says that Indian women travellers are displaying a strong appetite for holidays (MIG photos/Varsha Singh)

To mark International Women’s Day, India’s largest travel firm Thomas Cook has launched several packages targeting the women’s only segment of the market. Though a niche currently, it has been growing rapidly over the past few years.

A report released by Thomas Cook India & SOTC, Second Holiday Readiness Report (December 2020), says that Indian women travellers are displaying a strong appetite for holidays. It says 65 pc of women respondents are keen to travel in the next six months and a significant 72 pc displaying confidence in air travel.

Within months after this report, the two companies have launched a series of women-centric products and also curated special flight inclusive women-only tours to India and Dubai to commemorate International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s month (March).

“With pent-up demand, India’s women travellers are looking to travel and Women’s Day serves as a great opportunity. Demand is not restricted to India’s metro cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai etc. but interestingly from India’s Tier 2 source markets as well such as Chandigarh, Nagpur and Jaipur as well,” Rajeev Kale,  president & country head – Holidays, MICE, Visa of Thomas Cook India tells Media India Group.

Thomas Cook says that the evolution of India’s women traveller segment has been exponential and represents a significant and growing opportunity. “Their holiday wish list is no longer restricted to safe destinations and shopping, but includes a diversity of eclectic experiences such as outdoors-adventure, self-drives, culture, spa-wellness and gastronomy; interest based itineraries are witnessing strong uptick,” says Thomas Cook India.

Backing up the survey by Thomas Cook-SOTC is a report by Oyo, a vacation rental company, that say 63 pc increase was registered in solo women travellers in India. The report went on to say that better technology and safer travel means made it possible for women to travel without a partner. The online survey found that women travel alone to be in control of their freedom and independence. But a few of them also responded how they travel alone to encounter new challenges and enhance their confidence in the process.

Women travelling alone have often said how they are welcomed as a guest rather than a stranger. Although crimes against women and other factors usually act as setbacks, the world is changing at a fast pace and travelling alone is becoming easier.

However, women tend to be cautious in general while travelling in India or abroad. Vaibhavi Malhotra, a university student, follows all the instructions of her family whenever she travels late at night in an unfamiliar city. “My main concern while travelling is taking care of my belongings. As a girl who’s fresh out of school, it was scary going alone to Europe. My dad always warned me about instances of pickpocketing in Paris, but in Amsterdam, I went cycling with my friend at 3 am. I think we face different challenges at different places,” Malhotra says.

Malhotra has a piece of advice for women travelling to unfamiliar places. “Do your research about the city before leaving. Know the niche of the city you are headed to. And try to always share your live location with your guardian. I never talk to strangers while travelling for the fear of sharing any information about me that someone might use against me,” she says.

Thomas Cook and SOTC say with a focus on safety, they have introduced Assured-Insured-Secured programme that covers every aspect of physical safety as well as mental and financial security to provide complete peace of mind. “Women travellers are emerging as major growth drivers for the travel sector and they have shown interest in adventure trips, leisure, wellness breaks, shopping getaways and more! To catalyse this demand, we have launched exciting air inclusive packages for Indian women travellers across price points – from pocket friendly budgets to affordable luxury. The new age Indian woman traveller is eager to explore the world based on to her unique preferences/interests. Besides sightseeing, she is keen to explore a multitude of activities that help her gain unique experiences and even new skills,” says Daniel D’souza, president & country head, Leisure, SOTC Travel.

Thomas Cook and SOTC say that to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day and month, they conceptualised special women-centric tours to Dubai with an attractive prices and fixed departures. Besides Dubai, it also proposed packages for numerous domestic destinations such as Goa, Kerala, Jaipur and Udaipur. In addition, the companies also launched a wide portfolio of customised tours for women travellers.

These include vintage car drives around Udaipur’s lakes, spa and wellness in Thekkady, backwater cruises and martial arts in Kerala, casino and pub hopping in Goa or a jeep safari in Munnar. For overseas, the packages include adventure activities like dune-bashing or sand surfing and shopping in Dubai.

The two travel agents have also launched aggressive marketing campaign in the digital domain to communicate the women-centred products. “We have made extensive use of digital platforms to reach out to our customers with regards to our Women’s Day tours. Hyper-local communication via WhatsApp and social media has been leveraged to maximum advantage,” says Kale, adding that the response to the new offers has been encouraging.

The packages have appealed to a fairly broad spectrum of potential women travellers, SOTC says. “In addition to India’s corporate women segment driving the B-leisure potential, a sizable demand has been emerging from the solo woman traveller, millennials, girl gang/ BFF (best friend forever) vacations, bachelorette tours and kitty party getaways,” Daniel D’souza from SOTC tells Media India Group.

(With inputs from Nikita Rawat)

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