UK: As reports of a boom in bookings across the travel sector flood in with the UK Government easing travel restrictions from 6 July, latest research conducted by global home swapping platform Love Home Swap reveals that holidaymakers this year are emerging from lockdown with caution and new priorities when it comes to their travel plans.
Whilst travel confidence appears positive within the UK – over 25 per cent of respondents believe they will spend the same amount on travel over the next few months than they did pre-lockdown – there is a divide emerging between those feeling positive about travel [14 per cent] and not wanting to travel at all [22 per cent]. Those not wanting to travel cited health concerns around Covid-19 and safety, as well as not being able to afford it, suggesting there is still plenty of work within the travel industry to be done to reassure consumers.
For those thinking about booking their next holiday, hygiene came out as the number one priority amongst respondents, as more than 80 per cent claimed it would be “important” or “very important”. This was followed by personal safety and security well ahead of factors including weather and location.
Meanwhile, one in five Brits have less to spend on their next holiday, one in ten will spend less on travel over the next few months, and one in ten believe they will travel less than they did previously, suggesting that affordability will be a key deciding factor when booking future holidays.
Love Home Swap managing director Célia Pronto suggested that offering alternative ways to travel in a safe and cost-effective way could help support the increase in confidence amongst potential holidaymakers.
Pronto said: “We are seeing through the rise of agreed swaps on our platform that there is a strong desire to ‘save the summer’ and make the most of the easing of lockdown, but the consumer we are dealing with now is very different. The affordability factor bodes well for home sharing platforms like ours, as we can connect people who swap homes and therefore save on the cost of accommodation.
“There is also a fantastic community which fosters a mutual trust and feeling of safety which we are looking to support in any way we can,” she added.
As UK consumers exit lockdown more hygiene- and safety-conscious, they also suggested they would feel more safe travelling closer to home, with half of respondents claiming they would feel safe travelling in the UK versus 29 per cent travelling short haul and 21 per cent travelling long haul. This, in conjunction with 40 per cent of travellers planning to holiday in the UK, indicates that the 2020 holiday season will be dominated by staycations.
Love Home Swap has already been preparing its members for the new world of travel post-lockdown with a range of measures.
The global home exchange platform added the ‘Local Travel Hub’ feature, that facilitates staycation swaps for members by highlighting available swaps near their location as well as top holiday destinations nearby. Additionally, Love Home Swap provided all members with the latest and best guidance on cleanliness and hygiene as well as completing several other updates to the platform during lockdown to improve the member experience.
Pronto said: “During the course of lockdown, we took the opportunity to improve all aspects of our business so that we were in a strong position once the travel market was ready to restart. We regularly listen to our members as well as the broader consumer market to get a real gauge of their needs and expectations.
“We have an extremely engaged community of members and utilising that and listening to our community will play a really important role as we continue to help them travel through the power of sharing,” she added.