As the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, many of us would be happy just to leave our houses at the moment, let alone go on holiday.
But as we’ve written before at Digital Dialog, these tough times won’t last forever (as much as it might seem like it).
Here we share five things British holidaymakers will be looking for and booking in 2021. If you want to share your own thoughts, or to discuss how to tap into these trends to promote your product, hotel or destination, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Stable staycations
If there’s one thing the public are sick of right now, it’s uncertainty. From the shifting tier systems to the shrinking travel corridor list, people will want the greatest possible chance that their holiday will be able to take place, particularly in spring. UK destinations will want to ramp up domestic marketing and shift strategies to appeal to their home audience, while also providing detailed information about cleaning processes, social distancing measures, and refund policies.
2. A sunny summer break
If you’re a hot European destination, it’s definitely not time to forget about the UK market. Emerging from a grey, freezing, drizzly winter, many will be desperate for a relaxing overseas break, and not wanting to gamble on the ever-unpredictable British summer time. Package breaks will be particularly appealing thanks to their greater protection, but no matter what you offer, you should again be making clear what your hygiene measures and policies on refunds and rebookings are. If you’re a destination, make sure you’re a reliable and entertaining information source on the latest situation.
There are many reasons this is a good time to promote a destination or product ahead of the summer (we’ve written about them here) and you should be thinking about any new developments you can announce, such as activities or renovations. Why should Brits choose you for their first overseas holiday in a long time?
3. Coaches and cruises
There has been an early-January spike in trip bookings among the over-50s, with TUI reporting that 50% of bookings on its website are currently coming from this group. Industry figures have attributed this to “vaccine confidence” (in the UK, Covid-19 vaccines are being distributed in descending order of age, as well as to key workers).
While in the case of TUI those bookings will be for overseas package holidays, National Express has also reported a rise in bookings of coach holidays, which tend to be popular with older groups; the company says bookings made by over 65s have increased by 185% year-on-year in the last fortnight.
Cruises are a tricky one, given the horrendous scenes of people trapped on boats as the virus spread in 2020. Yet the industry was on such an unstoppable rise before the pandemic hit, that we are confident that demand will come roaring back once there is a way to run cruises safely – a point we admittedly haven’t reached yet.
4. Green credentials
Sustainability has been a buzz word in travel for years now, but the pandemic has made many people slow down and take a more serious look at the impact they and humankind have on the world. Expect people to be more interested in and enticed by sustainability initiatives, whether that’s improvements made to a hotel or destination, or activities they can participate in to feel like they’re giving something back on their trip.
5. Long trips and remote working
Again, ‘digital nomads’ and long-term travellers are nothing new, but it’s clear that months on end of being stuck at home or in one place will have turbocharged people’s dreams of a long stay or working from a new location (a recent Amadeus survey found that 55% of travellers said they were planning a trip of 14 days or more in 2021).
However, there will likely be a reluctance among Brits to book big far-flung travel trips such as a package tour of Asia for some time, due to the continuing uncertainty. That means it’s a great time for closer destinations to capitalise on this market.
We’ve previously written about the ‘new rules of seduction’ that marketers will need to learn for attracting travellers in 2021 and beyond, including flexibility, safety and sensitivity. You can check out that list by clicking here.
Don’t forget to get in touch to let us know what you think of this list, and to discuss your marketing needs this year.
About the author
Manish is the founder of one of UK’s leading tourism and travel focused marketing agencies, Digital Dialog. He is also founder and chief editor of Travelbounce, a news website that helps travellers find essential travel information amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Manish has been helping tourism, travel and hospitality brands leverage digital channels effectively since 2012. Some of the brands he has worked with include Switzerland Tourism, Tourism Ireland, Atout France, Austria Tourism, Visit Wiltshire, Travelodge, Preferred Hotels to name a few.
If you would like to get in touch with Manish to discuss any of your marketing needs, you can reach him at email@example.com.