New research undertaken by official tourist board Visit Nottinghamshire has revealed that the majority of Britons are expecting to spend more on UK holidays or so-called ‘staycations’ over the next 6 months, which 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 asking about people’s anticipated spending habits over the next 6 months, the survey found that 57% of people are expecting to spend more than usual on UK mini-breaks (typically lasting 2-3 days) in the coming 6 months, with 49% expecting to spend more on longer UK holidays. Around a third of people (28% for UK mini-breaks and 35% for longer UK holidays) expected their spend to remain the same as before, with only small numbers of respondents expecting to spend less on UK mini-breaks (9%) and longer UK holidays (8%) than they would have before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit Nottinghamshire also sought to understand people’s attitudes towards taking day trips. 48% of respondents stated that as soon as lockdown measures end they would feel comfortable visiting local attractions, while 29% intended to wait “a few weeks”. These findings provide reassurance to the tourism and hospitality sectors, who have been some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey also examined which measures would encourage and reassure potential visitors. 69.5% of respondents expressed that they would look for places where they can safely maintain social distancing, which is likely to benefit rural and outdoor attractions. 63% of respondents would feel reassured with a ‘standard mark’ that signals a business has been recognised as following all government guidelines – positive news for the significant number of Nottinghamshire tourism and hospitality businesses which have obtained VisitBritain’s “We’re Good to Go” accreditation. The most common reassuring measure – and one which can be taken relatively easily by almost all businesses – was the provision of hand sanitiser upon entry, with 65% of respondents indicating that they would feel “much more comfortable” if this was available.
Visit Nottinghamshire has used the findings of this research to inform their reopening campaign to attract people to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire for day trips and overnight stays. This 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 people 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.
Robert Dixon, interim Chief Executive of Marketing Nottingham, said:
“Our research provides us with a clear picture of consumers’ travel 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 consumer confidence is returning as the lockdown lifts, with most people expecting to spend more on UK holidays and mini-breaks than before COVID-19.”
“This gives us 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 are 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 at https://marketingnottingham.uk/research-and-insight/.
Image credit – Cloud 9 Design.
Financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the UK Government.
Posted on 05 August 2020