Published on Monday, January 23, 2012
Maya Asset Management believes it knows what’s in store for the UK domestic holiday market in the next year.
In the second of a two-part series, marketing director Tania Duarte shares the other five of her top 10 predictions for 2012.
All-inclusive holidays will continue to increase in popularity as savvy holidaymakers seek to be control the total holiday cost. The ‘secondary spend’ model used by accommodation providers is still prevalent, but in an environment in which budget driven holidaymakers are becoming wise to potential premiums for extras on site. There are two options here. Firstly make sure that spending opportunities offer genuine value to guests. Secondly ensure that they are offered the opportunity to control the cost of the holiday in an all-inclusive package, following the foreign resort package trend.
Rising expectations put pressure on ratings
Customer expectations will continue to rise, with the increased interest in UK holidays leading the more commercial hotel and holiday park groups to continue to invest in facilities and accommodation. This will be reflected in ratings systems, such as the Visit Britain Quality in Tourism Awards, with the criteria changing to reflect higher standards, and the downgrading of venues which have not kept up. This reflects an industry-wide raising of expectations identified by Jetsetter Europe which found that nearly half of all holiday makers have felt let down by a hotel rating.
Get mobile and be social
Mobile marketing will become key to those really optimising the potential for spending via tailored restaurant and attraction suggestion, location based features, QR codes and gamification, which rewards users via game techniques, encouraging engagement. Pre-purchase mobiles will increase with Google anticipating that the number of mobile users researching travel will increase 51% in 2012. Social Media will be just as important for marketing purposes. It will become the battle ground for marketing success, delivering loyalty and engagement programmes, bookings and customer service for all remotely enlightened UK travel operators who will need to switch from using Twitter as a broadcast channel and start to understand the reality of the relationships in the Google+ era.
The Squeezed Middle
For the more upmarket and exclusive self-catering providers, glamping camps, cottages and boutique hotels, booking availability is already minimal. This demonstrates pressure on the middle ground with budget breaks doing well in the late markets and luxury operators boosted by the weak pound. However, midmarket operators will continue to come under the greatest pressure due to decreases in household spending. Demand for self-catering accommodation will continue to grow, but could be challenged in the first quarter by the strongest performance against the Euro the Pound has seen for 15 months.
Winners and Losers
The group consolidations in the holiday park sector that were expected in 2011 may still not happen in 2012 due to heavily geared operators being unable to agree prices. This means continued competition in the sector, as well as potential opportunities for the stronger groups as the weaker ones start to struggle to compete and deal with the rising cost base. This is the start of a perennial recessionary trend which sees an element of natural selection kick in. Therefore if a mega group is not created, there can still be growth as individual parks are picked off by both existing operators and new investment groups attracted to the currently high profile sector. We might even see the building of new groups.
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