Travel scores well on the cricket pitch
India’s hottest cricket season is not just about the game any more. Travel brands are now putting their innovation caps on to cash in on the IPL game.
MEGHA PAUL Into
its sixth year now, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has nine teams from various parts of India battling it out in the field. But going beyond, OTAs have launched new offers to grab a share of an increasingly large pie of the bookings. Thanks to the cricket fever, hotels are witnessing increased occupancy during the ongoing season and the car rental industry is expecting more demand for its luxury cars.
Online travel portals have got IPL special schemes and discounts. MakeMyTrip, the principal sponsor for the Sunrises Hyderabad team, has launched a special offer called ‘Toss Ka Raja’. It offers people to get live on TV with the Sunrisers Hyderabad as they flip the toss, says the website homepage. Opines Manish Kalra- Marketing Head, MakeMyTrip, “We are delighted to partner with Sunrisers Hyderabad and reach out to millions of IPL fans through this association. The IPL demonstrates the synergies of the twin passions of cricket and travel, with fans following their teams to match-venues across different parts of the country. Our partnership with Sunrisers Hyderabad will help us reach out to the next set of people who are going to come online, since cricket gives us the opportunity to reach out to Tier-II markets.” This year, the main focus of the company will remain on the hotels. IPL is a natural fitment, as cricket involves a lot of travel as well, he adds. Revenue from the hotels and packages business has also increased by 55.2 per cent in this quarter, showcasing the opportunities in this segment, Kalra informs. Yatra.com has seen a surge of 15-20 per cent in hotel bookings on weekends during the IPL season. “This trend is being seen in cities such as Pune, Jaipur and Chandigarh, where average room rates have risen by 25 per cent on the weekends,” Sharat Dhall, President, Yatra.com reveals.
According to Gaurav Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Savaari Car Rentals, there has been a spurt in the demand for luxury cars during IPL consistently since the six years. “This year, the demand for cabs has risen by 40 per cent and the request for luxury cars has risen up to 35 per cent, which is otherwise around 20-25 per cent on normal working days. IPL is one of the peak seasons, where the business sees a rapid growth, resulting in good profits,” he comments. During IPL there have been a lot of takers for luxury cars. “Our fleet of luxury cars such as Jaguar, Mercedes C/E/S Class, BMW 3/5/7 series, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Toyota Fortune are in huge demand,” Aggarwal adds. Sunil Gupta,
Chief Executive Officer, Avis India feels IPL has given the company a marginal increase in business of approximately 15 per cent. “These bookings are through hotels and travel agents as well. However, for us, it is limited to the day of the match,” he points out. The Rajasthan Royals have tied up with Gilpin Travel Management as the team’s exclusive travel partner for the 2013 and 2014 editions of the Pepsi Indian Premier League. Offering end-to-end travel solutions and high quality service in all facets of travel including corporate, incentive and leisure, the company’s association with Rajasthan Royals is even more significant now. According to Adil J. Bajirao, Vice PresidentOutbound, Gilpin Tours & Travel Management(I), “We are providing holiday packages to destinations, which includes RR memorabilia as well as lucky draw prizes, which entitle the recipients to an evening with the Rajasthan Royals team in Mumbai.” Gilpin Travels is also offering several IPL match-based packages, which include accommodation, transfers and tickets to the match.