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A decade of opportunity for domestic tourism

A new report from VisitEngland outlines opportunities to grow breaks at home

A new report by the national tourist board, VisitEngland entitled ‘Domestic Leisure Tourism Trends for the Next Decade’, outlining key trends due to significantly affect the future growth of domestic tourism was launched today at VisitEngland’s Visitor Economy Conference in London.  Covering a wide range of demographic, economic, technological and consumer trends, the report, highlights key opportunities that could change the face of tourism in England over the next decade.

Themes running throughout the report focus on the importance of customisation and adaptation.  Developments in both the consumers’ access to, and use of, technology have already had and will continue to have a transformative effect on the future of domestic leisure tourism.  The increasing demand for immediate communication and the use of social media, the report highlights, will heighten the ‘fear of missing out’ – or ‘FOMO’, driving the desire

However, the report implies it will be tourism businesses which will miss out if they fail to customise their offer to mobile platforms, make better use of apps and provide potential customers with the best virtual experience on offer to inspire a booking and subsequent word of mouth.  

Another consumer trend that is driven by technology access is ‘individualocracy’ - the desire for personalised, tailored products and services and, importantly, the expectation that this can be provided. The report outlines the importance of this to the tourism industry to keep up with the consumers’ demand for unique experiences especially created to their own personal specification to enjoy at the time that best suits them, often booked at the last minute.  

According to the report, tourism businesses need to be flexible and responsive not prescriptive.  This is particularly apparent when considering population and social change.  Families are changing in size, shape and composition, far removed from the traditional ‘nuclear’ family.  Businesses offering products aimed at families need to therefore ensure their products are flexible enough to meet the needs of a modern 21st century family.  

A baby boom and an aging population will see a greater emphasis on the intergenerational family holiday.  Grandparents will be ‘younger’ than ever before and aging baby boomers are a wealthy generation who prioritise their leisure time. A sharp rise in the number of over-80s will see a generation keen to go on holiday but potentially reluctant or unable to travel far.  These shifts in demographic should prompt business of all types to assess the access needs of their customers and adapt their products to better cater for them.  

Consumer confidence has risen in 2013 however the report points out that consumers remain cautious. As the economy starts to recover many recessionary habits adopted by consumers will be maintained as the importance of value for money remains at the forefront of many holiday decisions.   Consumers, the report states, have become ‘value hunters’ and are increasingly willing to go extra lengths to get the best deal, making it more important than ever to build the relationship which will create brand loyalty.  

Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant said:  “The tourism industry is playing a big part in our economic recovery and VisitEngland’s report outlines the huge potential the domestic market has for future growth. Tourism supports millions of jobs across the country and it’s important that the industry continues to be innovative in its approach, adapting to and creating trends so that the true potential can be realised.”  

VisitEngland’s Chief Executive, James Berresford said: “A thriving tourism industry is about meeting customer demand in all its variable forms to provide the best visitor experience and remain competitive.  It is our job as the national tourist board to support the growth of the industry and provide our businesses and destinations with intelligence like this so they can plan and adapt to a changing environment. This report outlines areas where businesses can  customise their product to a changing demographic in order to secure their share of the market place.  Innovation is vital for success and ongoing growth, and in many cases we’re not talking seismic changes.  All businesses have the ability to change and improve, sometimes it’s the smallest changes that make the biggest difference.”

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