Consumer sentiment to travel has been a fluctuating topic of conversation since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. With ever-changing barriers and concerns around travel, we look forward to a more positive picture as confidence increases going into 2022.
We’ve highlighted some of the likely booking considerations and consumer trends that will have an impact on the UK hospitality industry throughout 2022.
Staycations are sticking around
While Omicron has had some impact on consumers’ attitudes and confidence to travel, the intention to travel within the UK into Q1 and Q2 of 2022 remains stable, with consumers expected to use this year to catch up on missed travel opportunities.
According to Visit Britain, 32% of people anticipate taking more UK domestic trips in 2022 than they did in 2021. This is significantly more than those looking to travel overseas. Additionally, booking lead times are expected to be similar to pre-pandemic levels, and the split of short stays (1 - 3 nights) vs. longer breaks (4+ nights) is expected to be relatively even.
Although inbound travellers from abroad are likely to be higher in 2022 than 2021, businesses in the hospitality and travel industry shouldn't forget about domestic consumers seeking a staycation destination within the UK. Hospitality businesses should continue to promote stays to domestic travellers looking to explore new places in their home country. The VisitBritain report, highlighted that the most popular destinations will be traditional seaside towns and locations in the countryside, with the South West of England being the top destination for Q2 stays this year. Scotland sits in the middle of the board, as a domestic holiday destination for Q1 and Q2 of 2022.
Increased interest in luxury & self-catering accommodation
Luxury hotels are more sought after than their budget counterparts due to perceived levels of cleanliness and adherence to regulations. Self-catering properties remain a key consideration for all types of travellers, to reduce contact with others and increase peace of mind. Additionally, with government restrictions towards the end of 2021 and into 2022 changing from legal to advisory requirements, including travel advice over the festive period, travellers are more likely to have confidence in booking due to lower risk of cancellations.
However, as part of the research phase, prior to booking, users will pay more attention to the cleanliness standards of accommodation. In an effort to compete with luxury and self-catering accommodation and those with clear COVID safety measures; businesses should ensure to communicate clear, transparent information about COVID protocols and safety on their website and across digital channels.
The most important booking condition
‘Free cancellation’ remains the leading condition that UK adults look for when booking a domestic break during the pandemic. Travellers will be more likely to consider booking transport, accommodation and experiences with a free or flexible cancellation policy.
If not already implemented, businesses should consider adopting a more relaxed cancellation policy as part of your COVID recovery efforts. With financial protection and package security deemed most important, hospitality providers need to be more transparent and flexible than ever before, to protect brand reputation and build trust-driven relationships with consumers.
The JOLA Phenomenon
A report published by the WTM (World Travel Market) highlights the growing trend of the JOLA phenomenon - the Joy Of Looking Ahead.
After a difficult couple of years dealing with continued uncertainty caused by the pandemic, consumers are becoming increasingly confident in having day trips, experiences and travel excursions booked as something to look forward to in 2022. According to ABTA - The Travel Association, consumers will use 2022 to play ‘catch-up’ on the travel plans that have been put on hold since early 2020. The limited opportunities and difficulties to travel have made holidays and breaks more important to consumers than ever before, with many considering travel a spending priority for this year.
Maximise your potential for 2022
With growing confidence, 2022 is the year to ensure your hospitality brand keeps up with market demands, as intent to travel increases and a more positive picture for the hospitality industry appears.
Click2Convert are uniquely focused on the travel and hospitality industry, understanding the hotel business holistically, from the back end operations to the front end digital presence. With over a decade’s experience, we’ve helped some of the UK's top hospitality brands exceed their goals, and have delivered exceptional results both pre and post-pandemic.
Our proactive approach ensures hospitality brands stay up-to-date with ever-changing consumer trends and fluctuating impacts of the pandemic. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can elevate your brand in the digital space.