Free cocktails in a certain time slot, free transfers to and from the airport and railway station, free use of sauna, sight-seeing tours plus a boat cruise on the river and discounts of between 20% to 30% on room tariffs are some of the extra goodies offered by Goan hoteliers to attract guests this monsoon.
The downpour has been steady in Goa in the last few days and some of the beaches are awash with flotsam. But hotels in Goa are claiming occupancies of about 55%. Ralph de Souza, immediate past president of the travel and tourism association of Goa (TTAG), however, said occupancies were between 10% to 12% lower in the present fortnight compared to the same period last year.
With juicy allurements from hotels on offer, tourists find the rains not much of a dampener.
For example, a five star resort in south Goa has slashed its ‘superior room’ rate from its December high of 10,900 per night to 5,800 now. Add to that free cocktails for an hour from 7.30pm, free sauna, free half-day sightseeing, river cruise, gifts to children and free pasta cooking classes.
A 3-star resort in Arpora-Baga has cut its tariff by about 50% compared to the peak Christmas period. Besides, during the ‘happy hour’, guests get 20% off on drinks. The resort also has an off-season menu with fewer dishes but at lesser prices. Their 3-night-4-day package that cost 18,000 in January for two, is now cheaper by 3,000. Edwin Dias of a resort in Baga (North Goa) says this June, his hotel boasts of 50% occupancy. In earlier years, the hotel had just 20% to 30% occupancy in June. Dias feels that the present proliferation of online travel agents helps disseminate offers to a wider audience. Hotel discounts and sops were high on Sunday, when Goa celebrated the feast of St John the Baptist-popularly referred to as “Sao Joao”. Besides church services, Goans celebrate this feast by jumping and bathing in wells, ponds and lakes wearing crowns of flowers and bingeing on drinks and seasonal fruit.
Many hotels offered packages for Sao Joao celebrations, opening their swimming pools to revelers. A weekend stay in a 3-star hotel went for between Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,750 per person per night, all inclusive; which means, the night stay, all three meals mostly of traditional Goan dishes, drinks on the house and unlimited frolicking in the pool. De Souza feels it won’t be just showers of rain but tourists too who will pour into Goa for the remainder of the monsoon. Besides dealers’ conferences and incentive tours, honeymooning couples and young executives are flocking to Goa. “For July and August, inquiries are coming in. In August and September, occupancies will definitely pick up,” he said.