As we enter the third – yes third – year of the pandemic, the public mood is mixed.
Cases have reached record highs over the winter, and some travel restrictions have been reintroduced (such as France’s ban on non-essential travel from the UK).
But with various studies showing that the Omicron variant is less severe than previous strains of Covid, rising vaccination rates around the world and optimism that travel restrictions will only reduce into spring and summer, travel businesses certainly need to prepare to capitalise on rising demand.
Here, we share five things British holidaymakers will be looking for and booking in 2022. 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 email@example.com.
1. Sunny spring and summer breaks
If you’re a hot European destination, prepare for a boom in UK demand. Emerging from a grey, cold winter that followed an underwhelming (weather-wise) summer, people are desperate for a sun-soaked break. Many have still not made their first pandemic-era trips given the virus threat and constantly-changing isolation requirements during summer 2020, and all that plus the cost of PCR testing in summer 2021.
If summer 2022 shakes those drawbacks off, as the industry hopes it will, a short-haul travel boom seems certain. With people still likely to be wary about the future, a greater number will turn to last-minute bookings.
2. Greater protections
On that note, we can expect people to continue to exercise caution over holiday plans. Package breaks will be appealing thanks to their greater protection, but no matter what you offer, you should again be making clear what your policies on refunds and rebookings are. Flexibility will be a big draw for a family of four where one member contracting Covid could call off the whole holiday.
People will also be hungry for as much information as possible about the latest situation in your location, for example rules on mask-wearing and whether hospitality venues and tourist attractions are open.
3. 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.
4. Remote working
Again, so-called ‘digital nomads’ are nothing new, but we’ve now reached the point in the pandemic where many more people are realising they are never going to be heading back to the office – or at least, will be fully-flexible – and are factoring that into their lifestyle planning.
That means it may not just be Millennial freelancers looking to jump on the ‘work from anywhere’ trend, but people such as older full-time employees who want to shake things up for a few weeks or months, subject to visa (eg post-Brexit rules within the EU) and their company requirements. Still, they will be looking for things like serviced apartments with strong wifi, good working spaces and networking or socialising opportunities that tourism businesses can tap into.
5. Long-haul’s long-awaited return
The greatest uncertainty hangs over the prospect of trips to destinations in Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Americas, whether that’s beach trips to Thailand, business hops to Shanghai, family reunions in Australia, safaris in Tanzania or backpacking through Brazil. As things stand, such trips range from difficult to expensive to impossible, and the pandemic has taught us not to get too certain that things will change in the near term.
Still, industry experts from analysts to airlines have begun to speak of 2022 as the year we see the world move back towards normality. The demand is certainly there – in fact, it has intensified. You can bet that as soon as a green light is given for these routes, flights are going to start filling up.
Don’t forget to get in touch to let us know what you think of this list or to discuss your strategies for 2022 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.