The biggest cricket extravaganza of the year, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is just about to commence, and enthusiasm among fans is evident as sports tourism has reached its peak. ‘Howzat for your perfect stay,’ an integrated marketing campaign from Booking.com, the official accommodation partner for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, combines the worlds of travel, cricket, and the devoted fans who make it all possible.
To take this celebration forward, a press event was held in Mumbai with former Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan, Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan, and Santosh Kumar, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia, at Booking.com.
Sports and travel are inextricably linked. One of the biggest sports tournaments on Earth, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 draws visitors to the host region, which can boost local and international tourism.
According to the most current Booking.com APAC Travel Confidence Index, 56% of Indians plan to attend a live or any noteworthy occasion this year, including sports competitions. Booking.com search data also shows an increase in inbound travel, with fans from all over the world flocking to India for the event, which runs from October 5 to November 19, 2023, with visitors from the United Kingdom, United States, United Arab Emirates, Germany, and Australia leading the way.
Zaheer Khan, Former Indian fast bowler, commented, “Taking wickets and performing on the cricket field has been a significant part of my life and travel is an integral part of that experience. Exploring different cities, cultural nuances, culinary options and local attractions was all part of my cricket journey beyond the pitch. Hence I am glad to be a part of this event hosted by Booking.com, which seamlessly integrates cricket and travel, uniting people globally and celebrating the spirit of adventure and the moments that matter.”
Seeing top cricket countries in action is a real bucket list event for many and an irresistible reason for millions of Booking.com customers to make the journey. Popular matches in India are boosting travel searches and causing a travel boom. Beyond the event, visitors want to see what the city has to offer, which might lead to longer stays and repeat trips. According to Booking.com, cities hosting matches account for seven of the top ten most searched locations in India. Over the competition period from October 5 to November 19, 2023, the top searched destinations include Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad.
On key match days, such as the India vs Pakistan match on October 14, Ahmedabad is the second most searched location, followed by Delhi.
Bollywood actor, Varun Dhawan, said, “Travel and cricket are two things I am truly passionate about. My profession gives me the opportunity to travel and explore different destinations in India and across the world; and cricket is something I integrate into my profession. Whenever I get a chance to play in between my shots I’m always up for a game. With the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Booking.com is offering millions of fans like me the joy and excitement of travelling and booking that perfect stay to watch their favourite team play live. Now that’s a perfect match!”
Booking.com also launched an advertisement campaign ‘Howzat for your ideal stay’ for the prestigious competition. The commercial, which stars Indian team captain Rohit Sharma in addition to widely-known international cricketers Jos Buttler and Glenn Maxwell, emphasizes the joy and excitement of booking with Booking.com. It demonstrates the end-to-end simplicity and wonderful selection of lodgings that Booking.com provides by taking viewers on an experience of a family dreaming about their perfect cricket stay.
Booking.com provides the biggest range of wonderful places to stay, which comprises hotels, resorts, apartments, villas, and more, with over 28 million reported listings in over 171,000 locations around the globe, including cities where ICC matches are taking place.
Santosh Kumar, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia, Booking.com, said, “The impact of major sporting events on travel desire and demand is a phenomenon we are observing globally and in India as well. As the Official Accommodation Partner for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, we help fans make their cricket-inspired travel as seamless as possible by offering them flights, rental cars, taxi, attractions and of course all kinds of unique places to stay. We are delighted to celebrate one of the world’s biggest sports with the launch of our campaign ‘Howzat for your perfect stay’ that beautifully showcases the fun and excitement of booking on Booking.com.”
The comprehensive campaign will run in India from October 5 to November 19, 2023, across digital, PR, social media, and television.
At the event, SportsMint Media had the honour of speaking to Mr Santosh Kumar, in which we asked him, How significant will be the growth of the sports tourism industry in India due to the ever-increasing homegrown sports competitions?
“I think sports tourism in India is still fairly in its emerging stages. The IPL has been around for about 15 years. That’s very well established league globally. In fact, it’s one of the top three leagues of all sports. Its also great to see that other sports, other leagues have also come up now whether it’s football whether it’s badminton, kabaddi etc. I think the sports tourism industry in India is still is about 37 million USD, but it’s a number that’s growing in a very rapid pace. There’s double-digit growth expected for the next few years to come. We still are very small when you compare to, for example, US and some of the other western markets. But i’m very positive about how this industry will grow. I think in general, Indians are demonstrating that they want to travel for such events and second is their willing to spend a little bit of a premium as well, right? Because we have seen despite prices going up we’re still seeing demand is very strong and people are not trading down. Which means if they were staying at five star hotel before they will continue to stay at a five star. But it’s also leading to a rise of alternate accommodation segments. So overall I think it’s an industry which is still at an emerging space but will continue to grow very rapidly.”