The UK hospitality sector has never faced as much hardship as it has for the last year, but with challenge comes opportunity. While Britons are foregoing international travel for domestic staycations, they are collectively rediscovering what the UK has to offer, resulting in an opportunity for British tourism destinations to put themselves back on the map.
Here, we have gathered the latest data on hospitality spending, and highlighted the ways that businesses can continue to see these margins through key promotion and high-quality service to encourage returning customers.
Last month, spending on hotels grew by 5.4% last month, while spending on airlines decreased by 70.9%, reflecting the current travel restrictions and the large-scale shift towards British staycations. An estimated 16 million UK adults are planning staycations before September, and a further 73% will choose UK holidays even after travel restrictions have been lifted, suggesting that the domestic travel trend will continue over the coming months.
While domestic travel is currently a necessity for holidaymakers due to travel restrictions, that doesn’t mean that it can’t continue to be an attractive offer after life returns to normal. Successfully positioning your business as a staycation destination for loyal returning customers lies in a high calibre of safe service. Safety has been at the forefront of consumers’ minds more than ever throughout the pandemic, and your business must uphold the high standards they have come to expect. Continuing the high level of cleaning and sanitisation long after Freedom Day comes around will put your customers at ease and maximise future business, particularly amongst those who are still showing concern over the lifting of restrictions and are putting their health at the forefront of their decisions.
Your business should be transparent about the health and safety measures that it is taking to protect staff and customers, dedicating a section of its website to clearly written information about its rules and policies to put new customers at ease. You should also consider a direct email to the database for the consideration of previous customers to ensure they feel safe to return.
A UK hospitality venue that can offer a clean, safe environment with staff that provide the utmost care and attention to detail will be memorable to consumers even once international travel is more readily available and can secure its place in the future of domestic tourism. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for hospitality businesses to secure themselves as a top destination for staycations must not be taken lightly.
Many aspects of daily life are returning to normal as the pandemic eases, and the most exciting for many is the re-emergence of sports fixtures. Data shows that spending at pubs and bars rose 38.1% – the biggest increase since September 2020 – to correlate with sporting events. For the England vs. Italy Euros final, Brits were projected to spend £180 million in hospitality venues to celebrate what they hoped would be a remarkable win for the country.
As the long-awaited Tokyo Olympics begins on 23 July, we would encourage hospitality businesses to embrace sporting fans and creating an atmosphere of celebration and community. Consider showing current sporting events on a large-screen TV or an outdoor projector, and welcome your customers with a bespoke sports-themed cocktail or a special offer on food and beverages.
Brits have been flocking outside to make the most of the sunny weather this month – and spending data reflects it. Consumers spent 22% more at hospitality venues on sunny days, no doubt taking advantage of a nice cold pint in beer gardens. Besides the weather, though, the popularity of outdoor spaces also a matter of customer confidence. In an April 2021 YouGov survey, 81% of responses said they would feel comfortable drinking in pub gardens, while just 58% would feel the same indoors.
If you have an outdoor space at your business, now is a better time than ever to fully promote it and attract customers over the summer months. Create an attractive outdoor area and share photos on social media to entice customers, and dedicate an image-heavy page of your website to information about the space. Furthermore, use direct email marketing to send your database a special summer offer for food and drink to showcase everything that your business has to offer for the warmer months.
For further advice on hospitality marketing and trends and how you can utilise them within your marketing and PR strategy, contact a member of our team here.