Not too long ago we shared with you findings from our recent survey into how the UK public feels about the readjustment to life after lockdown. The first article we wrote in our two-part series highlighted the UK’s views surrounding dining out and the impacts on the hospitality sector. 

Throughout this article and final part in our series we will be uncovering the UK’s views surrounding travel. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 96% of the world’s destinations are currently impacted by travel restrictions and other lockdown measures. We would be right in feeling like the whole world has come to a standstill. 

Recently, some lockdown restrictions have been lifted, with non-essential shops beginning to open, socialising for longer periods of time in groups of six people or less now being allowed and restaurants and pubs soon to get the green light to re-open. However, the rules surrounding travel outside of the UK are still yet to be made clear.

Is the uncertainty surrounding travel making “staycations” more desirable? 

Given the lack of clarity surrounding travel and knowing that many will be anticipating plans for their Summer holidays, we wanted to determine if the UK public are more likely to consider holidaying in the UK now than pre-covid.

With over half of those asked considering leisure activities within driving distance of their home and staying in the UK for their holidays. This can only mean good things for the British tourism economy.  It has been hit hard by the reduced visits from tourists since the Covid-19 epidemic. Will we begin to see locations such as Tower of London, the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and Stonehenge, which are currently eerily empty, be brought back to life as people choose to “stay at home” this year, regardless of what happens with flights and cruises? 

Thoughts surrounding travelling abroad 

We asked the UK eight questions in a survey to determine their views on life after lockdown. Question 5 asked “How soon would you look to plan a foreign holiday once restrictions are lifted?”

The favoured response was “not for the foreseeable future” with 40% of those asked choosing this option. 30% of respondents opted for “within 6-12 months of them being lifted” and only 16% feeling comfortable to travel abroad as soon as restrictions are removed. 

It seems there’s a lot of apprehension surrounding travelling abroad soon after lockdown, we wanted to find out more and went on to ask “what provisions would you expect to be in place before you would consider flying again post lockdown?” 

It’s hard to believe 19% of those who took part in the survey wouldn’t expect any provisions when there’s already actions being taken on keeping the public safe whilst travelling. According to ITV who recently reported on the actions being taken by Manchester airport, there’s a few changes for those looking to fly in the near future, these include: 

  • All passengers will be required to wear gloves and face coverings.
  • Travellers are expected to bring their own and they can include scarves or other makeshift measures.
  • The airport will provide protective equipment for those without. As passenger numbers rise they will be expected to provide their own.
  • Trialling some technologies such as temperature measurement
  • The new measures would build on the existing signage, leaflets, announcements and hand sanitisers already in place, they said.
  • The airport has also implemented a ‘more intensive and visible’ cleaning regime

It’s apparent the changes are inevitable and that there’s going to be rigorous safety measures in place if we’re going to keep safe whilst we head overseas. 

Next steps for the travel industry 

If you’re not already, now would be time to evaluate marketing effectiveness with a change of messaging, showing empathy towards travellers who may have lost the opportunity to fulfil their travel plans but also seeking opportunities to reach those who are yet to book their breaks. 

There was a time we would spend marketing efforts on encouraging people to choose the UK over travel to other countries but it seems the Covid-19 epidemic has made that decision for us. It’s apparent the UK tourism industry will more than likely see an influx of visitors opting for a staycation so it’s important companies operating within the UK travel sector optimise opportunities to encourage consumers looking to make the most of their Summer. 

If you’re an airline operator, how can you ensure the new process is clear to travellers, could you create walk-through videos, infographics Q&As with staff members, advice on isolating once you get to your destination? At a time like this, you can’t over communicate. According to Google Trends, users are frequently seeking answers to questions such as “When can we travel again?” “When will International Travel Resume” and looking for advice around holiday destinations and their restrictions. We may not have all the answers right now but as soon as we have any official information to share we should be making it a priority to do so. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our data, feel free to contact us for a copy of the complete findings. Equally, we’re more than happy to explore ways we can support you in getting ready for life post lockdown. Across JGM, Shoot the Moon and Eat & Breathe we can support you on a range of services from online booking systems, onsite signage, leaflets, announcements and online messaging to content production and digital marketing – we’re fully equipped to support you whilst taking on the new normal.