In the wake of coronavirus and the wider economic impact, we can expect travel destinations, hotels, and leisure hotspots to be in a state of flux in 2021.
No other industry has been impacted quite as hard by coronavirus than leisure and tourism. This is why you’ll be experiencing some industry changes as holiday operators try to coax the old engine back into life.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three of the biggest trends set to shape the tourism industry next year.
Expect holidays to come with a bonus
While coronavirus remains a prominent fixture in our day-to-day lives, booking a holiday can feel a little too risky — a novel concept for an industry built on offering relaxing getaways from the stresses of modern life.
So, how will this sector bounce back from such newfound scepticism? For one, we’re seeing an industry-wide trend in travel incentives — or bonus offers — in an attempt to control customer retention.
Offering bonuses is a tactic widely that has been widely used in the gambling industry (you can try these casinos for some great examples). In short, though, the best casino bonuses offer rewards that entice new customers, first grabbing their attention and then encouraging them to take action.
An effective marketing strategy, bonuses are intended to give something away for free in the hope you will spend more money over the long term. Although you’re not likely to see any free spins or slot machines aboard your next flight, holiday operators have been using similar tactics in an attempt to lure nervous tourists abroad.
For example, Playa Hotels & Resorts are promoting savings programmes to help fill their locations in Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. This scheme offers room upgrades and resort credits if you book with them. Plus, if you reschedule rather than cancel your trip then you’ll be in line for even more benefits like free nights and food vouchers.
Domestic travel will be on the rise
With our tourism industry supporting over 2.6 million jobs, even before coronavirus, we were seeing a rise in domestic travel across Britain. But, in the wake of the pandemic, sentiment for a staycation renaissance is rising exponentially.
Restrictions on travel mean that the overseas getaway is a difficult and uncertain prospect. So, domestic holidays are stepping up to fill the void left behind thousands of flight cancellations. In fact, the UK is currently the most popular destination for British travellers, claiming almost 59,000 bookings to America’s lowly 4,625 in a recent study.
The travel & tourism industry is a versatile beast that can adapt to any situation, even COVID-19. Looking to the future tourist hotspots will learn to adapt to restrictions. And whether they be outdoors or indoors, the United Kingdom has tonnes of beautiful locations to explore.
If you’re not going abroad in 2021 there’s no reason to snub the fun that can be had on a domestic holiday. From the Gower Peninsula to the Christmas Garden at Castle Howard, there’s little shortage of locations to explore. Plus local businesses need your support to recover from this pandemic.
There will be lenient cancellation fees
There are few things more irritating than having to cancel your dream holiday at the last minute. Now imagine having to cough up an extortionate cancellation fee, even though the decision was out of your control. This is what thousands of people experienced when strict lockdown procedures were put into action across the globe.
It’s no surprise then that people are a little tentative and need some coaxing to book a holiday soon. But, this goes beyond shiny bonuses and freebies, people need a sense of security to build confidence in the industry once again.
One way travel companies are looking to address the issue is by waiving cancellation fees and allowing customers to cancel their booking up to a day before check-in.
For instance, travel shopping companies are actively promoting this new policy across their respective webpage (you can take a look at this comparison site for more details). This gives customers an added degree of security, helping them to feel much more settled in committing during times of uncertainty — and after the year we’ve had, uncertainty is the best way to describe what lies ahead in 2021.
Nevertheless, we look on with blind optimism and hope we can book with certainty sooner rather than later.
Are lenient cancellation fees and bonus packages enough for you to book a holiday abroad? Or will you be partaking in the staycation renaissance?
Either way, the tourism & leisure industry will be looking much different as it adapts to a ‘new normal’ in 2021.