TravelNest survey reveals pandemic impact on UK holiday plans

Edinburgh: Vacation rental software solution TravelNest’s Travel and Tourism Survey 2021 has revealed the pandemic impact on UK holiday plans this year, with only a quarter of people saying they are “very likely” to book a holiday before they have had the vaccine and over half of the respondents saying they will not take a holiday abroad this year.  

The sample of over 600 people UK-wide found that 79 per cent of respondents plan to take one or two UK-based ‘staycations’ this year – 30 per cent plan to take one holiday and 38 per cent plan to take two breaks.

In terms of ‘staycation’ segments: rural holidays are most popular with Brits [51 per cent], followed by beach holidays [43 per cent], city breaks [36 per cent], road trips [29 per cent] and activity holidays [19 per cent].

While 30 per cent of Brits have already booked a holiday, 35 per cent plan to do so in Q2 [April, May and June]. 44 per cent of respondents plan to holiday this summer [June, July and August], with 23 per cent planning to vacation in the autumn [September, October and November].

The TravelNest survey also found that holiday homes are more popular with people in the UK than hotels, 44 per cent against 29 per cent.

Booking.com is the most popular booking site for holiday rentals according to the sample [at 54 per cent], followed by booking directly with owners [45 per cent], Airbnb [40 per cent], TripAdvisor [19 per cent] and Cottages.com [17 per cent]. When it comes to the duration of holidays, as many Brits [27 per cent] are planning a holiday break of more than seven days as those holidaying for a week [27 per cent].

Breaks of seven nights or more have doubled in 2021 versus the last three months of 2020, and, on average, customers are booking stays of five nights. Average booking value has increased by around 40 per cent in 2021 versus the last three months of 2020, while 72 per cent of bookings are for stays in 90 days’ time or more.

TravelNest’s own booking data supports the survey findings:

– Immediately following the announcement from the UK Government last week, bookings surged to the highest ever received in a single day, up over 100 per cent on last year’s top booking day when restrictions were lifted in June 2020.

  • TravelNest said it was experiencing a record-breaking month’s booking performance, forecasting an increase of six times booking revenue YoY for the month of February

  • 86 per cent of 2021 bookings are on a flexible cancellation policy that allows cancellations closer to the time

TravelNest COO Rebecca Moore said: “The findings, together with our own booking performance – which is exceeding all expectations in 2021 – reveal there is significant pent up demand for holidays when restrictions allow, and that the vaccine is affecting decision-making, significantly increasing confidence to book.

“The results also show travellers are thinking pragmatically, with the strongest demand for UK staycations versus holidays abroad, and a strong preference for rural vacation rental holidays in the summer months. Factors such as flexible cancellations and Covid cleaning protocols are very important to travellers.

“These results bode well for the UK’s rural vacation rental market when restrictions on travel are lifted,” she added.

Full findings from the TravelNest Travel and Tourism Survey 2021 can be found here.

The Edinburgh-based startup secured £1.8 million in funding from Silicon Valley Bank [SVB] and Scottish Enterprise back in December.