Business recovery webinar FAQs: Spotlight on inbound and domestic research and insights

Questions and answers from our first webinar, Spotlight on inbound and domestic research and insights, recorded 30 June.

Please note information provided in these responses was correct at the time of recording.

Data shown at the beginning of the Consumer Sentiment Study covering the national mood and perceptions of whether the worst is over or yet to come (dated from 23 March) is based upon n500 engaged tourism users. This n500 sample has continued to be reported by BVA BDRC, therefore it provides us with the longest time period with a consistent sample frame. From the 1 June the study has had a n1500 nat rep sample frame. When comparing the results between n500 and n1500 nat rep since 1 June there is no significant difference in data. 

Those not intending to holiday domestically are also unlikely to holiday abroad. Around 43% of England non-intenders say they are likely to take fewer holidays abroad, 4% more holidays abroad, 23% the same level, 31% not sure.

That's 21% of the population are intending to holiday this summer. ­

When asked whether people expect to take more, the same or fewer domestic holidays (+4 nights) this year:

  • 39% say that they expect to take fewer domestic holidays
  • 27% the same
  • 13% more
  • 22% don’t know

However, if taking fewer that could still mean that holidays are being deferred to the winter, thereby driving additional volume in winter at the expense of lower volume over the summer. This is the unknown factor, and also affects 2021.

The 2021 forecasts assume that we will not have a no deal Brexit.

VisitBritain don’t run our own forecasts by country as the outlook depends on factors that can change very quickly – such as air corridors or the change in the virus situation – and we wouldn’t have the capacity to update them so frequently. Tourism Economics produce country-level forecasts and we presented a few highlights of these in the webinar; however, please note that these pre-dated announcements on air corridors. Please get in touch with the VisitBritain research team if you have specific questions.

These results are based on current perceptions, which will definitely change. We can see whether people think the situation will get better or worse, and if the situation does change we monitor that and see how it affects intent. ­

We have 4% intent for July, but this is from 15-19 June. No doubt things have changed since then, and we will see over the next few weeks, but this is very much a measure of demand unchecked by supply concerns.

Outdoor leisure activities are likely to see the biggest increase relative to normal, with 39% of people saying that they are more likely than normal to go walking or hiking.

In our data tabs, published as part of the Consumer Sentiment Tracker, you can see in detail the public’s interest in various activities (Question VB10a).

Their main concerns will be consistent with what we report for assurances given by the hotel industry and attractions. People are looking for social distancing measures (reduced capacity, enforced social distancing), reduced contamination measures (contactless interactions, sealed packed lunches, etc.), and booking incentives (free cancellation, transfer).

Outdoor attractions that can enforce social distancing guidelines. Please see the weekly report or data tabs published on our website for questions QVB9a/bB10a/b.

Pre-nesters (16-34 year olds with no children) and families have the highest intent.

35% of the population believe they will be taking a holiday before the end of December. We do not have data specifically about travel at Christmas, but it will depend on the attitudes of the public at that point in time. As so much uncertainty still exists it is too early to say.

Currently air bookings from the USA for arrival in December are down 66% on those made at this point last year. However, the quarantine status for travellers from the USA will be the most important driving factor determining whether the outlook will improve or not.

Data from the Expedia Ecosystem shows, currently, just over an eighth of all bookings are to holiday in the UK over the December period and that has been growing week on week for 3 weeks now. But this does vary week on week.

While its challenging comparing 2019 to 2020 given how much the travel landscape has shifted, over the last 3 weeks there has been a large rise in the number of searches to travel and booking conversions to holiday in the UK from those originating from the Indian market. It is very unlikely that inbound travel to the UK will be at normal levels in 2021. Forecasts suggest it will be a few years before visitor volumes return to their 2019 peak.

Information can be found in our Profile Report on slide 17.

The travel market across 18 different geographies is showing a U shape in bookings where the majority are within the next month before tailing away and growing again some 60+ days in. And while the point at which some markets see an increase in this rate does vary, the overall trends remains.

We have information on the UK’s top inbound markets by volume and value. Pre-COVID, the markets we were most active in are France, Germany, USA, China, India, Australia and Gulf, but we are also monitoring the ability of travellers to come to the UK. Forecasts suggest that, in the short term and in general, visits from Europeans are likely to recover initially faster than those from long haul markets.