Three in ten plan to holiday less after the pandemic – how should brands respond?

New research shows that flexible cancellation policies will be the top priority for British holidaymakers.

With the prospect of travel restrictions remaining in place for the foreseeable future, we surveyed 250 UK adults to find out whether they’re booking at the moment and how they intend to holiday in future. 

See our full research on the Attest platform.

Our research found there’s a neat 50/50 split between people who have a holiday booked for the rest of 2021 or later and those who don’t have any holidays booked at all. 

More holidays booked for 35+ age group

People aged 35 or older are more likely to have a holiday booked for the rest of 2021 and beyond. We found that 54% of this group have a trip booked, while 44% of under 35s said the same. 

Interestingly men seem to be more keen for a break than women. Overall 58% of men say they have a holiday booked, while 43% of women said the same. 

UK here to stay

Among those who do have a trip booked, a staycation within the borders of the UK is on the cards for a sizeable 59%. More than a third (35%) have a jaunt booked elsewhere in Europe, and 10% will jet over to North America. 

It appears to be youngsters somewhat throwing caution to the wind by booking a trip to mainland Europe – 44% of under 35s have this booked, compared to 31% of the 35-and-overs.

The majority of holidays booked in 2021 and beyond are in the UK

Pandemic travel restrictions is a key holiday blocker

Uncertainty over pandemic travel restrictions came out as the top reason people gave for not having a holiday booked. Over one third (34%) said this, with the risk of catching COVID-19 or another virus coming in second (23%) followed by not being able to afford a holiday (16%). 

And it’s the under 35s who more emphatically cite travel restrictions as their reason for not booking – 43% say this, compared to just 29% of the older age group.

30% will holiday less in future

We asked about people’s attitudes to holidays once travel restrictions are lifted. Just 34% say they plan to go on holiday as often as they did before the pandemic. What’s surprising is that 30% say they plan to go on holiday less than they did before the pandemic. 

It’s not all bad news for the holiday industry: a chunky 26% say they hope to go on holiday more often after the pandemic. 

A positive sign is that 34% of under 35s say they plan to holiday more in the future, signalling some light at the end of the tunnel for the industry. 

In terms of spending on future holidays, a significant 23% say they plan to spend less on holidays in future than they did before the pandemic, while 20% say they’ll spend more. And it appears that women might curb some of their holiday spending in future, with 29% saying they’ll spend less compared to just 16% of men. 

While there’s a mixed climate ahead, what’s clear is that it’s important for the holiday industry to plan for a potential future drop in bookings as a result of the pandemic. 

Holidaymakers want flexible cancellation policies above all

In our research we asked how important various features are to them when booking a holiday through a package provider. The top ‘very important’ features were:

  • Flexible cancellation policy – 63%
  • Easy booking process – 59%
  • Range of price options – 56%

Priorities for under 35s are slightly different. Top of their list is an easy booking process (58%), followed by a range of destinations (57%) and a range of price options (55%). 

Find out how you can use consumer research with Attest to get to the heart of what your audience wants.

Marcus Evans

Senior Content Marketing Manager 

See all articles by Marcus