UK Holidays are the first port of call
The government advises against non-essential travel abroad and plane travel is seen as the highest risk factor during a holiday (TI Media), so holidays abroad are less likely to be considered in the short term. 73% say their next holiday will be in the UK, a significant increase from 33% in 2019. There has also been a 17% increase in people considering the purchase of a UK holiday home.
73% are planning to go on a UK holiday within one year of restrictions lifting (35% plan to get away within a few weeks), while 57% are planning a short haul holiday abroad and 45% a long haul trip. (TI Media).
70% of UK holidaymakers are worried about plane travel for holidays even after the pandemic ends and 47% say they will take fewer holidays abroad after lockdown ends (Emotional Logic) – so even in the longer term we may see more domestic holidays.
On average travellers are planning a 6 day UK break on a budget of £596 (TI Media).
Those who go abroad upgrade their stay
The average budget for holidays abroad has increased by 28% compared to 2019 – so it seems those who are venturing abroad are upgrading. Travel firm Kuoni has seen a 56% increase in bookings for the Maldives in 2021 for example.
Wellbeing and reconnecting with family over adventure
Consumers are twice as likely to be going on holiday with their children than in 2019 (36% vs 14%) and an additional 24% are planning to travel with other family members. 44% say one of the main reasons for going away is to reconnect with family. Experiencing new cultures and exploring new destinations has significantly reduced as a motivation for travelling, so people are likely to favour locations they have visited before.
The new book and go culture
Before the pandemic the trend was that holidaymakers were booking more and more in advance of their holiday. TUI for example launched their 2020 campaign five months earlier than previous years and reported record early bookings. This trend has now been reversed, due to uncertainty about future lockdowns holidaymakers are likely to book and travel immediately after the booking is made.
Rural and outdoor locations benefit first
Seaside and historical sites remain popular (51% and 46% will choose them for their UK break) but rural destinations have increased in importance from 37% in 2019 to 44% this year. Around 40% of holidaymakers are planning a city break.
Outdoor attractions are a stronger draw in the short term. 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.
Though a slower starter, museums and galleries are likely to generate good footfall with 64% of the public wanting to visit within the next year.
Hygiene, booking flexibility and food quality are key
58% see enhanced cleaning as a key criteria for their holiday choice, while 54% want free cancellations and 48% are looking for transferable bookings (Emotional Logic). Accommodation providers and attractions must reassure potential bookers that they are following strict hygiene rules and have a flexible approach to cancellations should future lockdowns happen.
The new COVID-19 quality mark from Visit Britain can be applied by tourism businesses to increase confidence from potential guests and bookers.
However, beautiful scenery and food quality remain top criteria for destination choice with 42% and 46% seeing it as a key factor.
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.
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