Opportunity in the changing face of the hospitality industry
In the past decade, the UK’s tourism industry has become one of the country’s fastest-growing sectors. In a recent publication from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the UK is forecast to reach £257 billion by 2025.
The latest announcements from the ministerial cabinet are ones of optimism, the astounding success of the vaccination programme has boosted morale and confidence as the public and the government maintains confident that summer 2021 will be one with significantly fewer restrictions. According to the most recent data, the UK are es;mated to emerge from lockdown as soon as the beginning of March. The 25th of February marks an important day for all as the public eagerly anticipate the Prime Minister’s address where the path to normalcy will be paved. Similarly, the health secretary MaO Hancock has provided assurances of the same tone, commenting that he hopes for a “happy and free Great British Summer”.
With the overwhelmingly positive response from the vaccina;on programme, UK holiday destinations have seen an explosive up-take in demand. From coOages, to bou;que hotels, to campsites popular destinations of natural beauty and historical features are rapidly becoming holiday sell-outs, with many holiday-makers encouraging people to book now to avoid disappointment. Between the anticipated release from pent-up demand and the holiday commitments rolled over from 2020, the perfect storm is gathering for domes;c holiday breaks.
The staycation trend has certainly hit the UK rapidly and shifted market sentiment towards the hospitality industry. Partially this is due to the considered strength of the staycation market and the likeliness that this will remain a fixture well into the future as overseas travel continues to spark unpredictability and health concerns. This will likely further fuel the demand for domestic leisure and tourism at various destinations across the UK.
According to a survey undertaken by YouGov, 44% of Brits said they are keen to take a leisure trip domestically in the next 12 months, and only one in three plan to venture abroad. Across both of these groups, the vast majority of respondents (77%) would opt-in for a short city break as well as combine relaxation with a sight-seeing or activity holiday (64%) again within the UK.
The hospitality industry has been undergoing tremendous changes and disruptions over the past year. We have taken a look at the key trends that have been steadily reshaping the industry and had a look at some of the key points.
Where is hospitality heading in the near future?
For those essential businesses that have worked from home throughout the various lockdowns the idea of a relocation to change their scenery has taken off, with many seeking new home office spaces in various destinations across the UK to improve their surroundings.
The rise in popularity for staycations has created a market shift in favour of lodgings with rural proximity so as to provide the experience of a picturesque getaway.
3. National over international vacations
With the latest news that inbound tourists or UK residents arriving from Covid hotspots around the globe will be required to isolate in a designated quarantine hotel for 10 days upon arrival. According to Independent Cottages owners, the volume of inquiries has greatly exceeded the first lockdown, by as much as 300%.
4. Importance of flexible and transparent cancellation policies
As experienced this past year, booking ahead during uncertain times can be a significant risk- particularly if there is no safety net policy for cancellations. The security of a flexible cancellation policy is essential to providing consumers with the confidence to book and be safe in the knowledge that reimbursement for unforeseen factors is guaranteed.
5. An increased desire for last-minute stays
The current climate has made the prospect of a last-minute get-away more attractive than ever. With national travel restrictions fluctuating from day to day, the romantic notion of seizing the moment has never been more apt. Instant booking capabilities and facilities to respond speedily to a booking request may be increasingly crucial to the industry moving forward.