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Indians are lapping up branded budget hotels online

New Delhi: Branded budget hotel chains are driving growth of online domestic hotel bookings as hospitality firms jump on digital bandwagon after a slow start to make inventory available on Internet, says a report.

As per Google Travel Trends report, branded budget hotel queries in India are growing at 179 percent year-on-year in comparison to just 36 percent in generic budget hotel queries.

The overall queries for ‘accommodations’ as a whole are growing at 37 percent annually.

“With over 300 million Indians online and growing rapidly, hotel providers have been slow to catch on the digital bandwagon, with only 20 percent of total hotel inventory available online,” the report said.

Seizing this massive opportunity, several players, including new and established players are focused on bringing quality budget accommodation online across the country.

“With the availability of this new inventory online, the report reveals that Internet users in the country are lapping up the budget hotels online which is evident in the growth of Google search queries,” it added.

Budget hotel queries already account for 35 percent of total accommodation queries and a large share of 47 percent of search queries are for the brands providing budget hotel inventory online.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Google India Director Sales, Vikas Agnihotri said: “Newer players in the segment have energised the travel vertical by unlocking a brand new inventory online.”

They have been quick to capitalise on the online demand with aggressive advertising spends in building their brands, which is leading to overall category growth for the industry, he added.

Agnihotri further said: “We expect this segment to continue to see massive growth with leisure travel expected to pick up in the coming summer holiday season.”

In terms of top destinations searched for accommodation during March to June period of 2015, the report said Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Delhi-NCR are the most searched destinations.

With the growing demand for branded budget hotel, players are investing in creating a distinct brand positioning as budget hotel providers are likely to see faster growth compared to generic travel aggregators, it said.

As per industry estimates, the inventory in the budget hotel space is expected to grow further with both new and existing players expected to bring up to 10,000 new rooms online this year, the report added.

In terms of outbound data (international) compiled basis Google search queries between January to September 2015, UAE topped the list, followed by US, Thailand, UK and Singapore.