KOCHI: Weekend eating out is passe. The new fad that is beginning to grip cities like Kochi is weekend staying out. Dozens of families are now seen making a beeline for pricey hotels in and around Kochi, ready to spend time and money during the weekend. It is also a get-together time for families.
And the hoteliers consider it an emerging trend, which can be packaged for better business prospects across Kerala. Girish Bhagat, general manager, Grand Hyatt, Kochi, told ‘Express’ they are getting several such bookings on weekends.
“It is an encouraging trend that local residents are coming to the hotel for spending the weekend. These tourists like to enjoy the facilities in the hotel as well as the cuisine in our restaurants. We expect the number will grow further in the future. This is a new trend that is gaining popularity in Kochi,” he said.
Rahul a Kochi-based marine import businessman, said he started moving to resorts and hotels in and around Kochi to release the heavy work pressure during weekdays. “It costs me around Rs 4,000- Rs 6,000 as room rent.
The extra amount has to be spent on food and other facilities. The ambience of the hotel or resort helps in cooling down work-related pressure. Some of the hotels also provide adventure activities like kayaking, angling and boat ride. If we stay close to Kochi, it will be easy to return home and go to office on Monday,” he said.
E M Najeeb, chairman, ATE Group, and former president of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), echoed Hyatt’s Bhagat, saying weekend tourism trend is fast catching up in cities like Kochi. “Earlier, people in Kochi used to travel to Munnar and other hill stations to spend their weekends. However, now people are interested in spending their weekends by engaging in activities organised by hotels. They can use pools, kitchen and entertainment facilities at the hotels. In fact, the trend is also slowly picking up in Thiruvananthapuram where residents move to hotels in Kovalam,” he said.
Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) Kerala chapter chairman Paulose Mathew said on an average, a family spends around Rs 5,000-10,000 at hotels and resorts in the weekend. “Resorts and hotels in and around Kochi are getting numerous bookings from families in the weekends. Several resorts have introduced packages to promote weekend tourism. The change in the income of a family is a key factor. Now, people like to spend their weekends outside home,” he said.
Hoteliers are also organising various events in the weekend to promote weekend tourists. Grand Hyatt is planning to introduce two houseboats for tourists. “Our average occupancy is around 60 per cent. By the initial months of 2019, we will have houseboats for cruising in the backwaters. One houseboat will be used for conferences and another will be dedicated to family leisure trips,” Bhagat said.