Think of it as game and you may not understand the frenzy, but then again cricket is an emotion in India!
The stage is set for the grand finale of the Cricket World Cup, where two cricketing giants — India and Australia — are poised to clash this Sunday in a battle that promises to be nothing short of monumental.
And Ahmedabad, the host city, is having an unprecedented surge in hotel and flight prices. We saw some room rates as high as $3,000.
Novotel Ahmedabad is offering accommodations at $1,800 per night for Sunday. Courtyard by Marriott at Thaltej came in at $1,280. Establishments such as ITC Narmada, Renaissance Ahmedabad, and Hyatt Regency are each charging approximately $3,000 for an overnight stay.
“I don’t think hoteliers in the city would have ever imagined that the average room rates would reach double of their usual best rate of the day,” said Mahendra Vakharia, managing director of Ahmedabad-based Pathfinders Holidays.
If you change the dates to a week later (November 26), a room at Courtyard by Marriott at Thaltej is available for $150, rooms at Novotel Ahmedabad start from $80, while at Renaissance Ahmedabad the tariff starts from less than $80.
Mega events like these are great for the hospitality industry and all related services like private rental cars, homestays, hotels and restaurants, allowing them to enjoy a good windfall, said Vakharia.
“Yes, the rates defy all logic and common sense, but when there is fan following, I guess logic goes for a six,” Vakharia said, using a cricketing analogy.
Explaining the demand, he said the sponsors of the tournament also invite and buy tickets for their premium clients and partners.
Many non-residential Indians have also come from out of India and as far as the U.S. to watch the World Cup including the finals. “I know of at least 40 people who are coming from other parts of the country to watch the final,” Vakharia said.
And Then The Airfares…
Flight prices have also seen a substantial spike. If you plan to take the 7:30am Vistara flight on Sunday to make it in time for the match that starts at 2pm (India time), and return the next day, you’d have to fork out an eye-watering $660.
A Delhi-Ahmedabad return flight usually costs around $100. To put it into perspective, a standard flight from Delhi to London, typically costs around $800.
But then cricket-crazy fans are not just waiting for a match; they are waiting for a moment.
Around 75% of travelers had expressed their willingness to increase their travel budget to witness live cricket matches, according to a Skyscanner report earlier this year.
Skyscanner had also noted a surge in searches for Ahmedabad, one of the host cities, with a 46% increase in search volume from within India.
Ahmedabad had also been the host city for the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan match on October 15, for which Booking.com saw a 5,000% increase in searches.