Recognising that the domestic and national markets will be key to Northern Ireland’s recovery, NITA hosted a webinar in partnership with leading research agency, BVA BDRC and Tourism Northern Ireland covering the current environment, consumers sentiment towards travel, what they expect and conditions that will impact whether they travel or visit from both a local and national perspective (Ireland and Great Britain) to help businesses plan for reopening with this in mind.
Key Learnings from the GB Marketing included:
- There are no clear signs of a staycation boom but demand is growing and is likely to grow further after this week’s announcement of a reopening date. The continuation of the UK quarantine is likely to sustain this growth.
- Local visitors are likely to be central to this surge, in particular in driving slightly longer visits than their usual UK short breaks. Wealthier and younger visitors may also play a role, making the case for providing some exclusive, high value experiences.
- Visitors will need to know there are things to do and places to see – currently a key barrier to taking a trip.
- They will also need assurances that destinations are taking steps to be COVID-safe, whilst not diminishing the experience. Accreditation and clear assurances on their website will be central to this in the short-term. Encouraging visitors to write reviews, will also provide a strong evidence base.
- Assurances are particularly important for Empty Nesters who are most risk-averse and most likely to book late. Offering multi-generational experiences may be a draw for this age group
- Local residents will need to be reassured and social distancing will need to be monitored to ensure there is no local ‘backlash’ towards tourists
Key Learnings from NI and ROI were as follows:
- Consumers across both NI and ROI continue to be concerned about Covid-19 and how it is impacting them – safety and security are paramount
- Travel intentions suggest a more optimistic outlook is emerging, particularly in relation to domestic short breaks where over half of NI and ROI consumers are planning a short break in Ireland in the next six months. Booking hasn’t followed on from intention just yet
- August and September are popular intended months to take a trip – indications are that the shoulder season will be popular
- However the pandemic is already having or will have a significant financial impact on the majority of households so ‘value for money’ is critical especially for families. The cost of accommodation is very important
- To escape, relax and have fun are what people simply want to do on their future break – as long as they can do it safely
- Communication of how safety and escaping, relaxing and having fun can be combined are key
- Reassurance on safety through visible supporting actions as well as underpinning policies are critical - clear, visible implementation of hygiene measures and social distancing enforcement are the key actions that would make NI consumers feel most comfortable.
To listen back to the webinar, click here
and the presentations are available below for download.