UK Tourism – What will the season bring?
From 4th of July accommodation providers, restaurants and museums are opening their doors across England. This is good news for the tourism sector and hopefully operators can salvage some of the 2020 season. Here we look at some key questions and we have 5 key tips on how to reopen successfully.
Will holidaymakers come?
The UK government is still advising against non-essential travel abroad and there is the 14 day quarantine to contend with on return. Many holidaymakers are postponing their holidays abroad to next year and are upgrading them (travel firm Kuoni has seen a 56% increase in bookings for the Maldives in 2021 for example). Therefore anyone who is desiring a break is likely to consider a domestic stay. 90% of UK holidaymakers are planning a domestic break this year, 43% say they want to explore their local area more and 47% will take fewer holidays abroad in the future [Emotional Logic]. So the signs for UK tourism operators are good.
Camping has increased in popularity – no enclosed spaces, easier social distancing, bookings to campsites have seen a strong increase. With nervous tourists, self-catering is likely to perform better than serviced accommodation.
How will this impact on restaurants?
Despite the surge in home cooking, 32% of Brits (YouGov) are planning to spend more on meals out after lockdown and 49% are expecting their spend to be the same as before lockdown. So there is still appetite for eating out.
Data from Germany, where restaurants have already reopened, shows that whilst some restaurants were able to make reopening work for them, others struggle or did choose not to reopen.
Generally restaurants that rely on working lunches, theatre or cinema goers and foreign tourists as traffic were less successful in Germany. As indoor spaces have been stripped of ambience to fit screens, removal of vases and ornaments, it is restaurants with outdoor spaces that seem the most successful.
Making use of gardens, back yards and pedestrianised roads many have moved tables outside – to increase capacity as well as lower risk levels.
Which attractions will do well?
Outdoor areas will be most likely to reap the benefits. This is because people have been confined to their homes for so long but also because of the lower risk levels and the fact that spending time in nature is calming (anxiety levels increased significantly during lock down).
Emotional Logic's COVID 19 report shows that 52% of people are considering visiting a scenic area / country park in the next 3 months. 35% are planning a visit to a park or garden in the next few weeks and 23% a visit to a museum or gallery (TI Media). Generally outdoor activities like walking and cycling will benefit – with 38% saying they will do more of those in the future.
5 Key Tips for Successfully Reopening a Hospitality and Leisure Businesses after Lockdown
1 Follow government advice
One of the challenges of the current situation is that things change all the time – so keeping up to speed with government guidelines is important for any business.
2 Reassure visitor safety
Visitors and guests will be nervous. Therefore reassuring them that your business follows strict guidance will be critical and is likely to increase your bookings and footfall.
Visit Britain has launched a new quality mark that tourism businesses who follow the guidelines can display to reassure customers. Make sure you get accredited if possible.
3 Promote your link to the outdoors
Outdoor spaces are perceived safer and after being in lockdown is what people will naturally seek. Do you have a beer garden? Could you move tables outside? Is your accommodation near walking or cycling areas? Does your museum or attraction have outdoor spaces or cafes? Any link with outdoor spaces is good this year – find or take some pictures and use them widely on your website and social media.
4 Use technology to minimise contact
Consider offering contactless payments. Many consumers are now used to this as most stores and supermarkets have made the switch.
Restaurants and pubs could consider mobile apps that allow customers to order without touching menus and to speed up service.
Rather than supplying printed leaflets or brochures email pdf copies to customers or use a webpage. This way contact is minimised and you can change the content at a moment’s notice if your offer changes.
5 Watch, learn and adapt
What will be critical to success is to watch and learn – we can no longer rely on trends from the previous years. It is important for business owners to closely monitor where visitors and guests come from, measure numbers per day and ensure to get feedback from customers to keep adjusting and tailoring your offer to current needs.
Emotional Logic is a research agency specialising in behavioural insights and works with businesses, charities and public sector organisations to understand motivations and shape future behaviour. We offer a range of fast and cost effective research solutions to help you understand your customers better and adapt your business to the current shift in consumer priorities.
Please get in touch for a free consultation.