UK: After publishing its 2020 Holiday Trends report in January, international consumer insight consultancy BVA BDRC has released its interim coronavirus impact update.
The BVA BDRC Holiday Report 2020 is based upon up-to-date primary research among a nationally representative sample of 1000 UK adults. The sample is representative of the UK population according to age, gender, region and social grade.
All respondents were interviewed online in the first two weeks of January 2020. In addition to the January research, 500 respondents were interviewed between 20-23 January and both waves of research were hosted by Alligator Research:
Coronavirus is giving holiday makers and the tourism industry a real hammering. However, there is a way for the domestic tourism industry to get the British back on their feet again – and win hearts and minds to boot.
In a coronavirus update to our anticipated 2020 Holiday Trends report we reveal that only 17 per cent of Britons now expect holiday travel to return to ‘normal’ by this July [i.e. as before the pandemic]. The largest proportion, 31 per cent, do not anticipate normalisation until 2021 or beyond. That is a very long time to be deprived of one of society’s vital wellness outlets.
Findings further reveal that nearly two thirds of the British public [63 per cent] have already cancelled or are expecting to cancel a 2020 planned holiday, with longer overseas holidays [34 per cent] most likely to be cut.
Even with the unprecedented fiscal packages on offer, operators with substantial cash reserves will have to cut back massively to weather the storm. Sadly though, other operators may not survive until 2021.
Back in January when we first conducted 2020 fieldwork for holiday trends [our predictive annual report on the intentions, motivations and attitudes of the British holidaymaker] there was economic optimism and a potential rise in long haul travel.
As we publish the updated report in full next week, coronavirus has brought the holiday industry to a standstill. Hotels are empty or transitioning to makeshift hospitals, planes are grounded, cruise liners docked.
In our update we were keen to explore to what extent a ‘bounce-back’ could be expected when travel returns to normal. Our findings support some of those earlier predictions with an indication that cancelled longer overseas holidays and UK short breaks are more likely to be re-booked in full than other trip types. However, many will not be, and the squeeze on personal finances will become even more acute in the next couple of months. Those hoping to revive current holiday plans in full are therefore likely to represent a shrinking audience.
Whilst we hope measures being taken by the UK Government to soften the blow bear fruit in the coming months, there are extra initiatives the domestic tourism market could take to remain relevant and connected to the British public during this time of social distancing.
With a focus on visitor attractions but with application across the rest of the industry, we asked at the weekend what initiatives the public would find most appealing during this period of social distancing.
There is a clear direction. Where possible the British public are seeking the provision and promotion of controlled walking routes. Some attractions have the ability to provide this but so do other providers.
BVA BDRC director Max Clapham said: “With careful planning and imagination, online booking capabilities and very strict management, controlled walking routes can be achieved.”
There are other, predominantly online initiatives that can provide succour to the mental and physical well-being of the British public and alleviate potential social unrest. But as last weekend proved, we need that outdoor space. It’s been severely diminished and we need to get it back.
BVA BDRC is an award-winning international consumer insight consultancy, conducting research in over 90 countries. The agency, part of the Paris-based BVA Group, aims to offer the complete range of research consulting and business transformation. It helps brands get closer to their customers, improve customer experience and grow the bottom line.
For more information, visit the BVA BDRC website here.