Dining out and UK mini breaks are activities Brits are most looking forward to, according to research by Nottingham tourist board

New research undertaken by official tourist board Visit Nottinghamshire has revealed that two of the activities people are most looking forward to – and making plans to do – as the lockdown lifts are dining out and UK mini-breaks. This is set to provide a much-needed boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors in the later part of 2020 following a challenging start to the year.

Visit Nottinghamshire conducted a survey to understand how COVID-19 has affected attitudes towards visiting Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, with the 838 respondents comprised of those signed up to Visit Nottinghamshire’s database of 35,000 consumers and those following its social media channels. The survey questions were designed to help the organisation to understand – and influence – consumer confidence in relation to day trips, holidays and future travel, and examine which measures would reassure and encourage visitors back to the region.

When asked to select the activities they were looking forward to most following the lockdown, the most popular response was “seeing family and friends/ in home gatherings”, with 81.30% of people ticking this option. However, the second most popular responses were “dining out” (63.43%) and “going on a UK mini-break” (62.33%).

Visit Nottinghamshire compared the findings of this research to its website performance throughout June, July and August to examine whether consumers were more likely to view certain pages (such as restaurants or places to stay) than at the same time last year – indicating an intention to visit. The organisation found that web traffic to the Food and Drink section – already one of the most popular sections on the Visit Nottinghamshire website – had increased by 56% compared to the same period in 2019. This is likely to be attributable at least in part to the Eat Out to Help Out – Participating Restaurants page, which contains more detail and imagery about each participating website than the gov.uk restaurant finder – making it an ideal choice for customers looking to try somewhere new. Web traffic to the Stay section on the Visit Nottinghamshire website has also increased by 30% over the last 3 months as accommodation providers open their doors and consumer confidence returns.

Visit Nottinghamshire has used the findings of this research to put a spotlight on Nottinghamshire as a mini-break destination with a particular focus on eating and drinking. Nottingham is famous for its food and drink scene, being home to the UK’s oldest inn (Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem) and the UK’s best restaurant according to the Times and TripAdvisor (Restaurant Sat Bains), and often said to have more restaurants per square mile than anywhere else in the UK. The city is also compact and easy to explore on foot, making it ideal for a mini-break.

Visit Nottinghamshire’s reopening tourism campaign includes advertisements in travel publications, social media promotion, Google advertising, radio interviews, newsletters and informative new sections on the Visit Nottinghamshire website to help visitors plan a safe and enjoyable visit to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The findings of the research will form part of the wider visitor economy recovery plan and have also been provided to other local authorities and relevant organisations.

Kinga Kapias, Acting Marketing and Communications Manager of Visit Nottinghamshire, said:

“Our research provides us with a clear picture of consumers’ intentions over the next 6 months – subject of course to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, which we continue to monitor closely. It is great to see that people are looking forward to, and making plans to, dine out in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s restaurants or book a mini-break to explore our wonderful region – all things they have missed during the lockdown.”

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the UK staycation market, encouraging British people to discover the hidden gems right on their doorstep instead of heading abroad this year. Visit Nottinghamshire have been promoting our region as a safe and enjoyable destination to visit this summer, and following months of lockdown earlier in the year we are aiming to extend the tourism season into the autumn and winter months too.”

“Our research has given us some valuable insights into consumer attitudes towards leisure travel, and we are using these findings to inform our highly targeted tourism campaign which aims to help boost the recovery of our local tourism and hospitality sectors.”

The full findings of the COVID-19 Consumer survey are available to view here.

Posted on 04 September 2020

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Sophie Milne

A member of the Marketing and Communications team at Marketing NG, Sophie manages press and PR. This includes writing and distributing press releases, arranging FAM trips, liaising with the media to gain press coverage for Nottingham/shire and Marketing NG, monitoring the news and ensuring colleagues are kept up to date with news stories and doing media interviews.