We are all adjusting to our new realities, social meet ups might be out, digital hang outs are in and as the Easter holidays begin, we’ve come together for what feels like the world’s largest experiment of a #StayHomeCation.
There is no doubt about it Brits love to travel, and like a coiled spring, to cure that wanderlust UK consumers are beginning to plan for ‘the day after’ bounce back. According to BVA BDRC’s 2ndweek of tracking consumers, many now have a clear idea of when they will book that holiday, flights, hotel rooms, and days out. And as less people are referring to 6 month plus or unknown, many are looking to book in the next 1 to 3 months. This is mirrored in the fact that searches for UK staycations are up by 190% in the short term and by Brits looking at Spain 2021 are up by over 1000%. The travel party will still happen – just a bit later than usual – possibly Summer, almost certainly October Half Term and definitely by Easter 2021.
So what can brands do to be on that important holiday shopping list? Whilst admittedly this isn’t a quick action of dusting off Plan B, due to inclement weather raining down like a damp squid on our season opening parades (in fact the weather typically this Easter is looking like it will be one of the hottest on record) there are key messages that you must start to communicate to make sure your brand is part of the consumers plans…
Be Innovative & Confident –
The desire to travel will continue, but we will remain cautious. Brands that do well will be the ones that instil confidence in the public by placing importance on wellbeing over profit. Think about how to limit the number of visitors, reduce occupancy, spread visitors out & explore innovative ways to retain ‘physical distancing’ – whether literally following in the footsteps of supermarket floor graphics, converting group tours to self-guided tours, a new take on public art with single seat benches or constructing individual beach spots with ready set up breakers – whatever you decide – add interpretation and devices to make it fun.
Stakeholders & Partners –
We’re in this together, with one voice your will be louder and can cut through the competitive noise – Discuss how to create experiences that could support each other, looking into alternative tourist and local offerings, share resources and work together with a consistent message.
Local Tourism –
Locally does it, successful brands will be the ones who start locally and build up trust. Think residents first, encourage pride of place, plan new walks and cycle routes. Encourage your home-grown influencers to take their time to look up, look around and share what has before gone unnoticed.
Short Term Ideas –
No one wants the sights that have been seen in China, it isn’t helping the over tourism issue nor the social distancing, how do we create slow and steady bursts? Don’t be greedy, it’s not about immediacy – continue to look at offers to visit later, move away from a full day activities and look at shorter itinerates offering free parking but for short amounts of time work towards flattening the curve so to speak. That way you’ll benefit long term and not a quick hit as visitors bounce from place to place as the world open up again.
Extend the season –
Extending the season into the shoulder months, certainly isn’t new to the tourism agenda but for many COVID 19 will make it essential. Look at adapting offerings, changing opening hours and adding new experiences. Take inspiration from the Victorians and what they achieved in Blackpool with the illuminations over a century ago.
Customers aren’t dreaming, they are actively planning and now more than ever brands must look at how they will creatively stay on the radar in what will be an industry at its most competitive, be perceived as spacious, healthy and safe, manage social distancing, sustain tourism as the world opens up, whilst looking at ways to extend the season.
Team Vivid x