June 30th, 2020
The Desire and Resilience of the UK Holidaymaker

Last week the PM announced a number of measures and concessions to ease travel restrictions for UK holidaymakers and open up domestic and international tourism for the hard-hit industry.

From 4th July, under the new Government guidance, B&Bs, campsites and caravan parks can open for business, along with pubs and restaurants – all of which have already had a massive impact on domestic holiday and staycation sectors, with many operators experiencing an immediate boom in bookings.

And the good news extended into international travel, with the UK Government announcing plans to implement air bridges with other countries and enabling Brits to travel aboard again without the need to quarantine once they arrive. The news saw airline giant EasyJet announcing its plans to introduce more international flights – in line with demand – from early July.

Countries including Germany, France, Italy and Spain are likely to be the first countries announcing air bridge travel, with ministers hoping to secure deals with other tourist favourites including Greece and Portugal.

The lifting of restrictions and subsequent good news headlines have translated to the public – clearly chomping at the bit in their sentiment and intent to travel again in 2020 – and it’s demonstrated in Ocean’s latest consumer panel research for @ The Local.

Our survey, in field 5-10 June and nationally representative, found a strong public desire and resilience to go on holiday in 2020.

Desire to travel

When we asked the panel what they were most looking forward to post lockdown, unsurprisingly 43% of respondents answered travelling and going on holiday, with 1 in 4 saying they are definitely vacationing 2020.

Drilling down further, we found that the desire to travel increases to 52% among ABC1s, and that nearly 3 in 5 of those most exposed to OOH can’t wait to return to travelling. Finally, the keenest to travel are Londoners (57%) and then those in the South East and South West (47% each).

Strong monetary resilience

With many people cooped up, and with much less to spend their money on, booking a holiday is likely to experience some revenge spending: 35% of @ The Local respondents will start spending on travelling and going on holiday within two months of lockdown easing – increasing to 54% among ABC1s.

In more good news for travel operators: 80% plan on spending just as much or more on their holidays this year. This increases to 87% among those most exposed to OOH and a massive 95% of Londoners.

Domestic vs Global

We saw the monetary resilience in both UK and international destinations: When it comes to domestic travel, 73% said that they will spend just as much as before or more, while 60% said they will be spending just as much as before or more on international holidays.

A few additional takeaways, for domestic travellers: 39% of respondents plan to take a holiday in the UK and this jumps to 55% of those aged 55+, with Cornwall, Devon, London, Dorset and Edinburgh are the most popular destinations on people’s wish lists.

Meanwhile for international travelling: 52% plan to jet set out of the UK for their holiday, with 39% of all, and 46% of 35-54s, saying they will be spending their summer holidays in Europe – with France, Spain, Greece Italy and Portugal top of the travel agenda.

Reaching undecideds

With some uncertainty still surrounding coronavirus and travelling, we discovered that 31% of @ The Local respondents, who said they definitely plan on going on holiday, still haven’t booked. This rises to 40% among ABC1s.

We identified four key themes identified as barriers to booking a holiday that brands can answer in order to sway those yet to book:

Inspiration: 1 in 6 of those who are unsure said it is because of limited information on destinations and holiday packages available. Brands need to provide audiences with more inspiration around where they can holiday as restrictions are lifted.

Information: 40% of respondents said the only thing stopping them from booking a holiday is quarantine uncertainty. Operators need to communicate when new air bridges or similar lock down easing has been established in countries and cities abroad.

Sales and Promotions: 1 in 4 of those most exposed to OOH are actively looking for sales and promotions around cheap air fares and holiday packages. With outdoor environments seeing a marked rise in both foot and vehicular traffic, OOH is perfectly poised to help reach target audiences.

Reassurance: 65% said further reassurance that travelling is safe will change their minds. With DOOH proving to be one of the most brand-safe environments, you can lend your messaging more credence by appearing in trusted media environments.

Tuning into the public optimism

With the travel restrictions easing and the subsequent boom in bookings, there is a ray of positivity for the travel and tourism sector and rightly so.

From businesses anecdotal evidence, to the newspaper headlines and finally looking at the results from Ocean’s @ The Local research – sentiment and intent are high for those who want to escape the isolation life.

And with 35% of those most exposed to OOH stating they will definitely be going on holiday in 2020, outdoor advertising is an effective method of reaching audiences at scale, with dynamic and real time advertising opportunities.

For more information about the research conducted, please contact Ocean’s Insight Manager Monika Tomova ([email protected]).

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