Traveler preferences have evolved drastically since the onset of the pandemic. Social distancing, hygiene, cleanliness, safety, and privacy are the main priorities for travelers post the pandemic. An increasing number of people now consider smaller, independent, and private spaces to be ‘safe havens’ for travel.
Traveler preferences have evolved drastically since the onset of the pandemic. Social distancing, hygiene, cleanliness, safety, and privacy are the main priorities for travelers post the pandemic. An increasing number of people now consider smaller, independent, and private spaces to be ‘safe havens’ for travel. These evolving preferences have been driving the growth of vacation home rentals in India during the last year.
Vacation homes have become one of the preferred alternatives to hotels and resorts for several domestic travelers as they provide additional privacy and a private bio-bubble compared to a hotel. Although no formal data is available for this hospitality segment, our estimates indicate that the occupancy for the vacation rental business has grown by 40% to 50% from the pre-pandemic average.
The flexibility of the work-from-anywhere and e-schooling environment has further fueled the demand for vacation home rentals in the country. Travelers have been on the lookout for self-sufficient properties with high-speed internet connectivity at secluded, picturesque, and serene leisure destinations away from the realities of the COVID-related restrictions that have become a part of our lives. In this scenario, vacation rentals have become the ‘home away from home’ as guests get the best of both worlds – privacy, security, and convenience of a home along with the luxuries and comfort of a hotel.
The flexibility and personalization provided by vacation homes are the additional perks that are attracting travelers, especially those traveling in small groups or with families and pets. Vacation homes provide them the ability to rent a complete villa or cottage at their chosen destination for a few days, weeks, or even months, and create their own safety bubble, without having to share the space with other people. Moreover, with international travel being on hold for more than a year now, many outbound Indian tourists are spending their holidays at exclusive luxury vacation homes, with highly personalized services, within the country.
The concept of second homes is also growing in India because of the lower interest rates, stamp duty, and property prices prevailing in the market. People are now evaluating investments in second homes at motorable destinations where they can go for a short break. Some of these second homes are being rented out as vacation homes when not being used by the owners.
Vacation rental, which is still a niche segment in India, is currently dominated by aggregators. However, new players are likely to enter this space as the demand for vacation rentals is expected to see a quantum jump in the near term, which coupled with the low supply will result in significant price premiums for the owners and operators. Leading international hotel companies have already diversified into this space globally and it is only a matter of time before they do so in India as well.
Mandeep S. Lamba, President – South Asia, oversees the HVS global hospitality practice for South Asia. He has spent over 30 years in the hospitality industry of which the last 19 have been in CEO positions. Having worked with leading International and domestic Hotel Companies such as IHG, Radisson & ITC Hotels, he also set up joint venture companies with Dawnay Day Group UK and Onyx Hospitality, Thailand to own and operate hotels in India giving him a broader exposure to the hospitality business.
An established industry leader, Mandeep has won several awards and recognitions in India and abroad for his accomplishments and contribution to the hospitality industry. He is a Certified Hospitality Administrator from the American Hotels Association (CHA), a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, UK (MRICS) and a member of the Tourism Council of CII (Northern India). His views are often solicited for television and print media as a spokesperson for the hospitality & tourism sector.
Prior to joining HVS in 2018, Mandeep was the Managing Director, Hotels & Hospitality Group for JLL.
Dipti Mohan, Senior Manager – Research with HVS South Asia, is a seasoned knowledge professional with extensive experience in research-based content creation. She has authored several ‘point of view’ documents such as thought leadership reports, expert opinion articles, white papers and research reports. Contact Dipti at