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The Break Down on Visit England’s Domestic Leisure Tourism Trends

The Break Down on Visit England’s Domestic Leisure Tourism Trends 900 400 HotelREZ

Rarlier this month we saw the release of Visit England’s domestic leisure tourism trends for the next decade. The report, commissioned to Trajectory Global, a leading insight and futures consultancy, aimed to help identify the key trends that will influence leisure domestic tourism over the coming years. Read on to get HotelREZ’s break-down of their major conclusions.

Changing Socio-Demographic trends

There are two main trends highlighted which are certain to have an impact on domestic leisure tourism:

An ageing society

The next retired generation will not only be bigger, but will also have different needs and attitudes, when compared to the present one. Generally more affluent and far more leisure focused than previous generations, the appetite for travel and tourism amongst the oldest groups in society is likely to increase over time, as healthy and overall life expediencies increases. Accommodation and travel options that can cater for people with reduced mobility will be therefore in great demand.

Food for thought: Hotels must adjust to meet the needs of an increasing number of older visitors, and people with reduced mobility.

Changing shape and composition of the traditional Family

A long term decline in the fertility rate combined with a rising life expectancy, is changing the shape of the traditional family from a horizontal to a vertical structure (i.e., a family with more inter-generational tiers – grandparents and great grandparents – rather than more people of the same generation – fewer siblings and cousins). Furthermore a shift in social values will also allow for a greater diversity of family types to emerge – e.g. from gay and lesbian parents, to more extended families linked by divorce or separation. Tourism businesses and destinations will need to adapt and be flexible in order to cater for this change in the traditional family types, rather than trying to impose a 2+2 system which does not fit anymore. 

Food for thought: Hotels must meet the needs of non-traditional groups, from single-parent families to extended and inter-generational families.

Economic trends

Although there are encouraging signs of economic recovery, recession-led trends such as value for money and bargain-hunting, will still be very much present in fore coming years.  This is also true for consumers placing price over brand loyalty. A desire for value is evident in all sections of the travel market, including the luxury end. However, an appetite for domestic and leisure experiences is also increasing, and the concept of ‘staycations’, spread during the recession, is also likely to be continued further.

Food for thought: Consumers are still going to seek deals, discounts and value offerings in the foreseeable future. Hoteliers will need to meet customers’ expectations without damaging their bottom line.

Technology and Information trends

An unprecedented level of access to information, potentiated by a surge in overall internet access, is shaping the way consumers research, book and manage their holidays. The report identifies two major trends driving changes in the domestic leisure market:

Mobile devices

The propagation of smartphones and tablets, will continue to intensify the requirement for hospitality businesses to customize their offers to different platforms. People will continue to not confine themselves to one type of device – i.e., a website viewed first on a smartphone might be later visited on a tablet or desktop – so it remains essential that travel businesses understand the need for responsive designed websites.

Social media

The ease with which people nowadays can share their leisure activities, increases our overall exposure to different experiences, and catalysis a ‘fear of missing out’ (sometimes abbreviated as FOMO), where consumers will want to try new experiences and will not want their peers to be having more fun than they are. Overall the report considers this a positive trend for tourism, as small businesses can see their audiences increase organically through the rapid spread of information among friends and peers, even though the risk of negative customer experiences can be amplified.

Food for thought: Hoteliers must continue to make sure their customers are able to access their website across all their devices, while also being able to know what is being ‘said’ about their business  across social media channels, by continuing  to embrace online reputation management.

Consumer and Leisure trends

Finally, the report looks at different types of leisure tourism activities such as health tourism and spa breaks, which are believed not only to be driven by a generation of health-conscious older people, but also by rising perceptions of time pressure and blurring distinctions between work and leisure – heightening the consumers’ desire for treats and self-rewarding breaks.

Another growing trend is the rise in the number of short breaks consumers take, in conjunction to their desire to experience different types of holiday experiences.

Food for thought: Hotel businesses must take into account the consumers desires for different and unique holiday experiences by making sure they tap into niche marketing opportunities, such as spa or gourmet breaks.

Do you agree with the overall conclusions of this report? Is your business addressing these consumer trends already? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
You can consult Visit England’s Full report here.

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