Back to hotel rooms: Mumbai travellers bid goodbye to 2020 with staycations

The pandemic may have clipped our wings when it comes to travel this year, but if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s about how to adapt. Five-star hotels in Mumbai say they’ve seen a jump in the number of staycations being booked.

Nicholas Dumbell, general manager, The St Regis, Mumbai, says, “Some services or offerings are reduced, but we do see a huge surge in staycations this time of the year.”

Gorav Arora, general manager, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, says many families are opting to go the staycations route, even on weekdays. “Compared to 2019, there’s a 15 per cent increase in staycations in 2020. Demand is especially high over weekends and during festive periods or when school s have holidays,” Arora says.

Curfew effect
Given the 11 pm night curfew in place, Mumbaikars, unwilling to take a chance about going out, remain confident about the safety and hygiene standards at five-star hotels. This has helped hotels recover from the loss of footfalls overall.

Salil Fadnis, manager, Hotel Sahara Star, says that staycations are a great way to attract customers. “As per the state government, we have marked a decline in footfalls. And so, we’re upselling our room packages to encourage our guests to have their dream staycation here,” Fadnis explains.

Domestic bliss
But can staycations by domestic tourists make up for the lack of international travellers? “Given that our hotel is attracting domestic travellers, we don’t foresee any significant impact. Our guests, in the early days of the lockdown, were from Mumbai, and this has now expanded to neighbouring cities like Pune, Ahmedabad and Nashik,” Dumbell adds.

Dietmar Kielnhofer, general manager, J W Marriott Mumbai Sahar, echoes the sentiment.

“Since our major business comes from Mumbai and neighbouring cities, the ban on flights from the UK hasn’t really affected our staycation business. People were initially hesitant to book into hotels, but with cities opening up and services returning to normal, they’re now ready to step out and experience the new normal,” Kielnhofer says.