Latest research and insights
Questions and answers from our eighth webinar, Latest research and insights, recorded 15 October.
Please note information provided in these responses was correct at the time of recording.
All overnight trips.
There is some information here on what inbound visitors purchase: https://www.visitbritain.org/shopping
The Office for National Statistics has data on consumer spending by category from UK consumers overall although the categories are quite broad and it doesn’t specifically split out domestic tourists within this: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/consumertrendsukapriltojune2020
Lastly, spend data is available, for a fee, from financial services companies which can provide this breakdown.
Yes, we do and it is something we are actively working on.
The surveys are in different places on the site but for the inbound, start at https://www.visitbritain.org/inbound-research-insights
The consumer sentiment tracker can be found at https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-consumer-sentiment-tracker.
In the consumer sentiment tracker we ask about ‘the main mode of travel to your next short break or holiday’. This is dominated by car with c. 70%. For wave 16, the top 5 modes of transport are shown on slide 28.
This was addressed verbally in the webinar but there are a few reasons behind this. Firstly, economic drivers – we are in a major global recession and it will take time for disposable incomes to recover. It will also take some time, even when vaccines are developed, before all potential travellers are able to get vaccinated, and before all potential travellers feel safe. And there is the capacity issue – we could see a loss of connectivity (e.g. flights) and potentially amongst accommodation/operators which could take some years to recover. And we might see business trips taking a long time to fully recover due to a switch towards digital meetings.
We don’t have any detailed breakdown for this year, but in the consumer sentiment tracker we do ask ‘what type of venues or activities are you more or less likely than normal to visit/do’. This is on slide 33 of the wave 16 report, with additional detail available in the associated Excel data tables.
This information is normally collected by our GB Tourist and Day Visits surveys. The most recent ones are for the year 2019 and can be found at https://www.visitbritain.org/great-britain-tourism-survey-latest-monthly-overnight-data and https://www.visitbritain.org/gb-day-visits-survey-latest-results.
We commenced fieldwork for 2020 in July when the lockdown restrictions eased and plan to start sharing the results around Q2 2021.
On the inbound side, we have just commissioned a piece of consumer research and this is one potential topic to explore.
Not yet, as this information will come from our annual GB Tourist and Day Visits surveys which will be published next autumn.
We don’t know what the levels of future trip substitution might be, but for holidays that were meant to have taken place over the summer period between the easing of lockdown (early July) and end August, some 35% of domestic holidays went ahead as planned versus 22% of overseas ones. In both cases, over 80% of the trips that didn’t go ahead as planned were cancelled, but 10% of domestic holidays were replaced with another domestic holiday whereas 12% of overseas holidays were replaced with a domestic one.
On the inbound side, we have just commissioned a piece of consumer research and this is one potential topic to explore. Some data from previous research can be found at https://www.visitbritain.org/understanding-international-visitors
There are some good sources available at the Boston Consulting Group but also EY regularly update their C19 insight area – a link to an older report can be found at https://www.ey.com/en_gl/consumer-products-retail/how-covid-19-could-change-consumer-behavior.
We can’t go into county-level detail due to sample size limitations, but more detailed information is available in the consumer sentiment profiling reports.
The first three of these can be found in the usual sentiment tracker webpage at https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-consumer-sentiment-tracker
The latest one is currently being written and we aim to publish it by the end of October.
This is a dynamic and constantly evolving scenario. All our consumer sentiment reports represent a snapshot in time, so please refer to the latest wave’s results for the most recent review on how UK adults are thinking and behaving.
Life stage, demographic and the level of financial impact from coronavirus is available in the customer sentiment profiling reports available at https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-consumer-sentiment-tracker
A difficult question! Forecasts indeed suggest inbound visits and spend could take several years to fully recover their 2019 value. We hope that the international sentiment research we are commissioning will give us some idea of what traveller preferences will be and what types of trips could recover first.
In terms of domestic, the sentiment tracker results suggests that while most people visited the destination they intended to over the summer period, a small minority (11%) did not, and among these people, the main reason cited regarding why (36% of mentions), was the concern ‘too many people would be there’, implying a desire to physically distance.
The tracker also asks what kinds of activities, at a broad level, people are more or less likely to do once restrictions and/or guidelines allow. Here we see a definite split between outdoor and indoor activities or venues, with former (such as walking, cycling or visiting outdoor theme parks and playgrounds) likely to experience higher than normal demand, with the converse true for predominantly indoor attractions such as museums, bars and restaurants. Anecdotally, we can presume the parts of the country where these attractions are located (such as town and cities) may experience viewer than anticipated visits as a result.
There is a publically available set of data collated by the Boston Consulting group that houses and makes available this data at https://public.tableau.com/profile/the.boston.consulting.group#!/vizhome/BCGsTravelRecoveryInsightsPortal/PortalHome. You can then cultivate your search/areas of interest and export accordingly.
A good source for that is HESA as a lot of university degrees would not be covered by the IPS.
In theory we would like to but the border tech hasn’t been set up to collect that data is a usable way yet. But it is something the ONS might look at in future.
The forecasts suggest that the initial recovery will be stronger from European visitors. However, this is very uncertain and the major drivers will be what restrictions are in place for each country’s visitors e.g. on arrival in the UK and for those visitors on return to their home country, as well as the progression of the virus in each country.
Some external insights can be found in a live tracker at https://public.tableau.com/profile/the.boston.consulting.group#!/vizhome/BCGsTravelRecoveryInsightsPortal/PortalHome .
Flight bookings data for 2021 inbound arrivals suggest that groups are comprising a greater than usual proportion of bookings. However, this might not be realised if these bookings are then cancelled.
At present inbound travel is so low that it is very hard to say, and the official data has been suspended. We will be exploring propensity to travel to the different nations in our upcoming international sentiment research. In general, the situation could change very quickly given difference lockdown restrictions.
Please see the slides for inbound forecasts for UK. We don’t have a specific forecast for London. For domestic, Oxford Economics forecast that domestic travel will recover to its 2019 level in volume terms (i.e. total nights) in 2022, although spending is forecast to take longer to recover.