With such results, it is fair to say the post recession ‘staycation’ trend will continue into 2012. However, this year will be a tough one. To survive it, businesses need to embrace social media marketing and ensure that they have the business model, investment and structure to survive the combination of lower prices and increased inflationary costs.
One of the UKs most dynamic management companies, Maya Asset Management, explores what is in store for the UK domestic holiday market in the next year. From the Olympics to mobile marketing and the potential for new groups to take a stronghold in the market, Maya Marketing Director Tania Duarte gives her top ten predictions for what we can expect in 2012.
Here are Maya’s predictions for what is in store for the staycation industry this year:
Olympics- creating legendary bookings?
The Olympic and Paralympic Games will create opportunities for increased bookings but these opportunities will be later than expected with only a few accommodation providers in key locations likely to attract the massive price hikes which caused controversy a year ago.
Existing hoteliers and accommodation providers for business will face competition from people renting out public, private garden spaces for camping and short-let flats. Those properties offering sporting activities will no doubt capitalise on the interest. However, a sound business model is still needed for such flash ventures even if over a small window of time.
At Maya we have conducted a study that identifies the dangers surrounding such short term opportunities. We can advise on making sure high hopes aren’t dashed in a way Brits are all too used to at sporting events.
Eco tourism starts in the UK
Following 2011 Euro trend of luxury authentic and ethical tourism, eco and sustainable holiday options will increase in popularity in 2012. With advocates such as Conscious Travel, Eurostar and a carbon neutral UK hotel winning award categories in the worldwide travel Responsible Tourism Awards, eco tourism is really set to take off.
Just remember that the first rule of eco tourism is to visit your own country first. This gives green travellers a great reason to stay in the UK!
There is a plethora of cultural and royal experiences for domestic tourism to take advantage of in 2012. With HM Diamond Jubilee giving the British public an extra Bank holiday, William and Kate’s first wedding anniversary and the 200th anniversary of Dickens birth, there will be an increase in events and themes to attract both domestic and overseas visitors.
This should see a rise in overseas and domestic tourism, as the British public take advantage of the chance to revel in their heritage.
Glamping grows up
Glamorous camping or ‘glamping’ is fastly becoming the cool way to camp. More and more glamping experiences will be offered in 2012, with a growing proliferation of accommodation and experience types already available.
On Goglamping.net bell, pavilion, and safari tents compete with tipis, domes, huts, lodges, tree-houses, pods, yurts, gypsy and airstream caravans!
Glamping will grow to encompass kitsch, retro, uber-luxury and eco experiences, currently mainly from independents only, and a franchise from Featherdown Farms, the most popular of which are already booked up until 2013. Maya have been providing consultancy services to some innovators in this market and suggest keeping eyes open for a new group to make an entrance to the market…
Good Deal Hunting
A key trend for 2012 will be deal hunting. The phenomenally late booking that we saw in 2011 will continue in 2012 with the expectation of significant price discounts. Operators will have to compete not only with each other, but also with low price holidays in countries such as Japan and Egypt which are trying to revive their tourism industry.
Through our experience of driving bookings above industry norms in competitive environments for minimal budgets, yet also increasing yield in some instances, and gross profit across the board. We can demonstrate that price dropping and margin decreases do not need to be an inevitable outcome of the current trend.
All inclusive holidays will continue to increase as savvy holidaymakers seek to be control the total holiday cost. The ‘secondary spend’ model used by accommodation providers is still prevalent, but in an environment in which budget driven holidaymakers are becoming wise to potential premiums for extras on site.
There are two options here. Firstly make sure that spending opportunities offer genuine value to guests. Secondly ensure that they are offered the opportunity to control the cost of the holiday in an all inclusive package, following the foreign resort package trend.
Rising expectations put pressure on ratings
Customer expectations will continue to rise, with the increased interest in UK holidays leading the more commercial hotel and holiday park groups to continue to invest in facilities and accommodation.
This will be reflected in ratings systems, such as the Visit Britain Quality in Tourism Awards, with the criteria changing to reflect higher standards, and the downgrading of venues which have not kept up.
This reflects an industry-wide raising of expectations identified by Jetsetter Europe which found that nearly half of all holiday makers have felt let down by a hotel rating. One thing we do at Maya to help businesses stay ahead of the game is helping ensure ratings and experiences through our operational management and development services.
Get mobile and be social
Mobile marketing will become key to those really optimising the potential for spending via tailored restaurant and attraction suggestion, location based features, QR codes and gamification, which rewards users via game techniques, encouraging engagement.
Pre-purchase mobiles will increase with Google anticipating that the number of mobile users researching travel will increase 51% in 2012. Social Media will be just as important for marketing purposes.
It will become the battle ground for marketing success, delivering loyalty and engagement programmes, bookings and customer service for all remotely enlightened UK travel operators who will need to switch from using Twitter as a broadcast channel and start to understand the reality of the relationships in the Google+ era.
The Squeezed Middle
For the more upmarket and exclusive self catering providers, glamping camps, cottages and boutique hotels, booking availability is already minimal. This demonstrates pressure on the middle ground with budget breaks doing well in the late markets and luxury operators boosted by the weak pound.
However midmarket operators will continue to come under the greatest pressure due to decreases in household spending. Demand for self catering accommodation will continue to grow, but could be challenged in the first quarter by the strongest performance against the Euro the Pound has seen for 15 months.
Winners and Losers
The group consolidations in the holiday park sector that were expected in 2011 may still not happen in 2012 due to heavily geared operators being unable to a
gree prices. This means continued competition in the sector, as well as potential opportunities for the stronger groups as the weaker ones start to struggle to compete and deal with the rising cost base.
This is the start of a perennial recessionary trend which sees an element of natural selection kick in. Therefore if a mega group is not created, there can still be growth as individual parks are picked off by both existing operators and new investment groups attracted to the currently high profile sector. We might even see the building of new groups.