According to BDRC Continental’s latest Holiday Trends survey 73 per cent of the 1,009 adults surveyed about their holiday plans for the year ahead said they would take a short break of less than four nights in the UK.
A trip in the UK will also be the main holiday for 24 per cent of people with Scotland, the South West and London the top three destinations and wellness breaks and experiential holidays increasingly popular, particularly with the 18-34 year old age group.
Report author Jon Young told BigHospitality hospitality operators who tapped into these trends could benefit from growing demand.
"It would be a good idea for places to be wellness-ready this year," he said. "Hotels with spas and offering healthy foods and bike racks are likely to be popular as are those that can offer experiences. There's an increasing desire for tick-box experiences, so places that offer something a bit different would benefit."
Of those surveyed for the report ahead of BDRC's Hotel Insights Forum, 77 per cent say safety is now a ‘consideration’ when planning a holiday abroad while 42 per cent said safety was a ‘serious consideration’.
When it came to cities around the world perceived to be safe, Edinburgh came top, followed by Sydney and London.
Pessimism among Britons over personal job security at home is also affecting attitudes to holiday planning with 19 per cent feeling it is ‘very likely’ or ‘fairly likely’ they will lose their job in 2016. This figure is an increase on the 13 per cent that said this in 2015.
These worries appear to explain why the intention to take a holiday of four nights or more anywhere in the world has dropped from 82 per cent in 2015 to 74 per cent in 2016. The findings also tie in with a decline in anticipated spend on holidays in 2016 and a narrowing of the range of holiday destinations Britons are considering (1.7 destinations on average in 2016 vs 2.8 destinations in 2015).
When it comes to planning holidays, many are influenced by reviews websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. The research found that online reviews have greater influence than star ratings among 48 per cent of people with 46 per cent saying they trust online reviews to be accurate and 41 per cent changing a holiday-related decision after reading a negative review.
Of the top five influences on where to take a holiday, four were ‘peer’ or ‘expert’ related, however. The top five were ‘friends/colleague’ (39 per cent), ‘search engines’ (33 per cent), ‘review sites’ (32 per cent), ‘travel agent staff’ (27 per cent) and ‘friend’s social media’ (25 per cent). Influences at the ‘inspiration stage’ and the ‘planning stage’ were very different with friends playing a significantly more important role at the inspiration stage.
Young added: “At times of uncertainty the most influential sources are those we trust. In addition, when feeling fearful, we will default to easy, trusted options. Complicated choices will create uncertainty and add to underlying worries. So holiday providers should make the decision as simple as possible for holidaymakers. Hand-holding ‘from landing to leaving’ and information aids such as itineraries can help people make their choice. Travel agents, tour operators and tourist boards have a clear role to play here.”
More holiday trends will be discussed at the BDRC Continental Hotel Insights Forum in London on 15 September. Book until the end of May for the early bird rate of £159.