Global survey highlights the importance of diversifying products and destinations
MMGY Hills Balfour has highlighted key UK specific findings from Travel Consul’s Global Travel Distribution COVID-19 IMPACT Survey. This includes information on vaccination passports, destination health and safety certification, as well as information on how the travel trade has adapted since the beginning of the pandemic. The UK specific findings from the third wave of the survey can be found below.
London, March 2021 – MMGY Hills Balfour, in partnership with Travel Consul, the travel industry’s largest marketing network, has released the findings from its third Global Travel Distribution COVID-19 IMPACT Survey. Nearly 2,000 global responses from agency owners, independent agents and tour operators were collected from the survey which was conducted from late January to early February 2021, across five continents and 20 countries.
The survey’s results provide crucial, up to date insights tracking distribution partners’ progress against the impact of COVID-19 to provide a better understanding of the rapidly evolving travel landscape.
The findings for the UK market underline key trends and sentiment, including the support of immunity passports, diversifying the product/destinations on offer, increased trip length and the importance of DMO’s presenting useful and timely data to fuel the industry’s recovery.
Vaccination and immunity passports are key to driving bookings
Over two thirds of UK respondents stated that destinations and suppliers requiring immunity passports or e-vaccination certificates for international travel would likely boost bookings in 2021. This is further supported by over 60 per cent of UK respondents agreeing that destination health and safety certificates will be a priority for travel as the industry works to rebuild and restore consumer confidence. This sentiment is consistent with 2020 results, echoing that consumers are still concerned with destination health/safety certifications as the primary factor when deciding on a final destination, with price and access to quality healthcare systems two growing considerations.
Travel advisors are researching new destinations and products to adapt to the changing landscape
Strengthening customer service and adjusting business models are the top two measures implemented by travel professionals in the last three months as a response to COVID-19, with roughly one-third of global respondents having done so. The latest findings show that 58 per cent of UK respondents will be diversifying the product and destinations they offer as a response to COVID-19 and the evolving consumer landscape, with a quarter examining new destinations.
Travel advisors are benefiting from suppliers’ flexible policies
Nearly 65 per cent of UK respondents will be doing more to modify their cancellation policies or terms and conditions so customers feel reassured booking trips whilst the travel landscape remains in flux. This flexible approach is certainly facilitating advanced bookings for international trips as reflected by the UK’s new bookings, with over 60 per cent booking international trips seven months to one year in advance.
Clients feel comfortable rebooking in 2021 as trip postponements outnumber cancellations
In a positive sign for the UK’s recovery, over 60 per cent of clients are choosing to postpone their trips, as opposed to 28 per cent who are cancelling. Of those clients who are postponing, over 70 per cent are looking to go where they had originally booked. When travel professionals were asked which time period travellers are rebooking their trips, the most popular answer was Q3 2021, followed by 2022.
Consumer booking patterns are changing and longer trips are on the rise
The pandemic has accelerated a rise in slow travel, with consumers looking to extend their holidays and really immerse themselves in the destination. This is highlighted by a third of all UK respondents reporting an increase of trip length, with over 20 percent of bookings increasing from one – seven days to eight – 14 days.
About Travel Consul
Travel Consul is a network of 18 best-in-class communications and marketing agencies worldwide that focus exclusively on travel, tourism and hospitality. With experts in 44 countries, our team works seamlessly to implement global strategies with unique hands-on local market knowledge and industry relationships. From B2B to B2C, Travel Consul helps governments and commercial organisations.