How to Increase International Guests in Non-metro Hotels
Metro cities typically attract foreign tourists for business and medical tourism while the non-metro cities, far greater in number than metro cities, attract mostly leisure tourists and a relatively smaller number for business travellers, especially in the emerging Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities.
INTERNATIONAL TOURIST arrivals to India jumped 16 places to 24th, worldwide, in 2014/2015 according to the latest UNWTO world tourism barometer, reported in March 2017. Foreign tourist arrivals witnessed double digit growth in January 2017.
In a recent review released in May 2017, Google revealed that travel queries emerging from non-metro cities beyond Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad were nearly 41 percent of the total volume which is a major shift from the previous year.
As per the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India increased 19.5 percent year-on-year to 630,000 in May 2017. FTAs on e-tourist visa increased 55.3 percent year-on-year to 68,000 in May 2017.
India's foreign exchange earnings (FEEs) through tourism increased by 32 per cent year-on-year to reach US$ 2.278 billion in April 2017, according to the Ministry.
India is expected to move up five spots and be ranked among the top five business travel markets globally by 2030, as business travel spend in the country is expected to treble from US$ 30 billion in 2015.
Driving More International Guest Visits to Non-Metros
International guest visits to India are primarily driven by business and leisure tourism. Metro cities typically attract foreign tourists for business and medical tourism while non-metro cities, far greater in number than metros, attract mostly leisure tourists and a much smaller number for business visitors. This is especially the case in emerging tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
Given that international guests are very well informed, thanks to the internet, the most powerful way to increase international guest visits in non-metro city hotels is through a strong inbound marketing program which connects with potential guests ahead of their travel and provides enough information to build mindshare and appeal, together with ease of planning their stay.
In addition to measures hotels are taking to make sure they are ‘found’ by international guests on the internet, there are several initiatives the government also needs to push, to grow the inflow of foreign guests. There are some initiatives already being driven by the government such as e-visas and the ‘Incredible India’ campaign, but more is needed from them on overall tourism support at airports and railway stations including public infrastructure at these places, to raise the overall travel experience of the foreign guests even before they get to a hotel.
Non-metro cities far outnumber metros in terms of tourist appeal, whether they are wildlife destinations or natural habitats such as Ooty, a sea-side resort like Digha, or a religious and spiritual destination like Katra. In short, the non-metro cities have a significant international tourist appeal which is growing.
In the context of non-metro destinations, the market already exists. Tourism appeal already exists. The hotels are ready to welcome guests. The one thing that can connect the dots and get the flow going would be a meaningful inbound digital marketing strategy combined with technology that makes it easy to plan experiences. The facility to make special travel or accommodation requests also go a long way for the guest who then just requires to hop on a plane and begin their travel experiences!
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, India will be a tourism hot-spot from 2009 to 2018, having the highest 10-year growth potential. Despite short and medium term setbacks like shortage of hotel rooms, tourism revenues are expected to surge by 42% from 2007 to 2017.
With the technological development, we have seen notable growth in the infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. A few important key factors are:
Location: Location is the key element for a tourist visit. We have observed that the centrally located hotels have more guest visits than others location. The scenic and beautiful location is always preferable while booking a hotel. So, people are taking care of overall growth with the maintenance of the infrastructural development in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Onsite facilities: It depends on the choice of guests but visitors definitely want to check into what’s located inside the hotel. The luxurious facilities like Gym, pool, spa, and the restaurant attracts more of the international guest.
In-room facilities: These days’ visitors are so tech-savvy and choose a hotel room online seeing all the facilities they are being offered. They also want to spend their holidays in a very exciting way at the same time prefer living a very personal life. They want all the facilities around them without any disturbance.
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