The first Best of Britain & Ireland Top Trends report, produced by leading research company Euromonitor International, has been unveiled at the UK’s premier trade show for domestic tourism today – Best of Britain & Ireland – Wednesday 12 March.
The report has highlighted four key emerging travel and tourism trends in the UK and Ireland that will have a direct impact on how the industry develops in a rapidly changing economic and social environment.
The effect of the construction of the HS2 Rail link is set to make a significant impact on domestic tourism, making cities and regions in the UK more accessible to both international and domestic visitors; many using London as the main transport hub. With journey times from London to cities such as Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds York, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh expected to significantly reduce, the new link is set to encourage tourism investment opportunities in areas that have recently seen a decline in UK domestic trips.
The North East, Yorkshire and North West who have seen the largest declines in UK domestic trips between 2012 and 2013 – 9.4%, 8.7% and 3.4% respectively – could particularly benefit.
Commenting on this trend, Mark Griffin, Best of Britain & Ireland’s show director said: “The impact of HS2 on the domestic travel sector should not be underestimated. Those regions and destinations who embrace the potential opportunities and start planning and implementing new strategies to capitalise on the new routes are likely to reap the rewards.”
Rise and rise of the golden traveller
The over 60 population – ‘the golden traveller’ – is forecast to reach 16 million by 2020 in the UK. The industry needs to ensure that the requirements of this consumer segment is not ignored.
Despite the industry offering traditional travel packages for those in good health, accessible and respite tourism is a trend that the industry needs to recognise as more and more ‘golden travellers’ have both physical, mental and health issues that affect the type of holiday they can go on.
Currently there are only a handful of operators who are catering for those who require specialist care whilst also alleviating the pressure felt by families and carers – Paladin Life (Devon), Mosaic Leisure (Preston), Dementia Holiday (Lincoln), and Vitalise UK (London).
Tayihha Jurdine, Euromonitor International’s Senior Research Analyst comments: “There is a clear gap in the market for accessible and respite tourism. This represents an opportunity for travel companies, tour and coach operators who identify a sector that is only set to grow in the coming years.”
Go go Gadgets
Electronic gadgets and applications have already enhanced the travel experience by placing more control in the hands of British travellers. This trend shows no signs of abating.
Driverless cars show interesting potential particularly for business travellers, as they can be programmed to get the traveller from the airport to their hotel and meeting point with ease whilst connected cars will allow consumers to find tourist information, book hotels and other travel services directly from their cars.
Google Glass, already making an impact with the likes of Virgin who have been trialling the product, will be able to respond to the user’s voice and receive overlaid directional experiences in their field of vision, with the potential to become a remarkable feature for travel.
Peer-to-peer to Viral
A new social culture has formed as a result of the economic recession, and consumers are sharing more information than ever before – a trend that the British traveller has eagerly embraced.
Peer sharing through ‘curating’ travel experiences is offering transparent reviews, local travel suggestions and unique discoveries through websites such as Jauntful and Vayable, which offer a bespoke and personal guide of city destinations. Many of these sites commission individual contributors based in particular cities to regularly provide updates on local discovers, attractions, shops, restaurants and bars ensuring relevance and topicality.
Peer to peer sharing is increasingly apparent in travel accommodation as illustrated by Airbnb, OnfeFineStay, Roomarama, HomeAway and FlatClub. Many of these private rental options are diversifying by catering to specific needs and groups – business, luxury, and family travellers.
Commenting on this trend Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International’s Head of Travel and Tourism adds: “Although these sites have not eclipsed traditional hotels, hoteliers will have to work harder to compete for the 21st century traveller as they demand greater flexibility in their travel needs.”
Mark Griffin concludes: “With recent research and economic indicators highlighting a return to business confidence with the tourism, hospitality and transport sectors, the Best of Britain & Ireland Top Trends report highlights key trends which will have a direct impact on the future of the industry and its continued growth.”