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A glimpse of the future? European survey reveals post-lockdown consumer travel sentiment  

A study of over 10,000 Polish consumers has revealed that 80% of respondents expect to go on a summer holiday this year, with 93% of those planning on making it a staycation – giving some insight as to what the UK hospitality industry can expect once lockdown eases.  

With hotels in Poland having reopened on the 4th May following a period of lockdown, the responses to the study help to give the UK a glimpse of what it can expect when hospitality businesses start to open again in July.  

Conducted by Profitroom, a leading SaaS provider of hospitality booking solutions and direct strategies, the study, which was carried out in early May, explored attitudes towards travel and other elements of hospitality as it sought to gain an understanding of how consumers will react in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.  

Samantha Williams of Profitroom, said of the reasoning behind the research: “COVID-19 has impacted all countries differently, with some being more affected than others. Consequently, lockdown measures across the world have been implemented differently, with some moving out of the phase earlier than others. With the UK still in lockdown, and others some way ahead of us, it’s helped us to gain some insight as to what we can expect. Even though individual countries have been affected differently, consumer fears and the proposed preventative measures bear many similarities – particularly within Europe.”   

Respondents to the study were initially asked, ‘Despite the coronavirus threat, would you still be looking for a summer holiday this year?’ to which an overwhelming 79.8% said that ‘yes’, they would, while the remaining 20.2% said ‘no’.  

When asked if they’d already booked their holidays, 75.4% said that ‘no’, they hadn’t, and when questioned about their intentions, almost all, 92.9% said that they expected to holiday in Poland. Although 30% did say they would ‘consider going abroad’ if the option was available and it was safe to do so.  

The study then went on to look at what accommodation consumers would be willing to stay in if planning on a holiday, which revealed 88% were looking at hotel stays, provided hotels took the necessary safety precautions as outlined by official guidance.  

Further questioning offered some insight into how much money holidaymakers will have to spend. When it came to budget, 61.3% anticipated the same spend as 2019, with just over a quarter, 25.5%, intending to spend less, while 9.5% intended to spend more than last year.  

Samantha Williams of Profitroom, speaking of the findings, said: “The figures emerging from Poland are certainly reassuring for the UK hospitality industry. It seems that consumers aren’t daunted by the crisis – provided the necessary safety measures are put in place. And although it suggests UK hospitality businesses aren’t likely to benefit from international guests in the short term (judging by Polish opinion), it does seem likely that they will benefit from a bumper few months of staycation trade.”   

She continued: “The fact that most hadn’t booked yet, so they’re not simply hoping to carry out existing plans, indicates there’s a lot of opportunity for UK hospitality operators to tap into. A positive statistic though, was that almost two thirds are planning on spending the same amount as last year, with a very welcome 10% even looking to spend more. Indeed, within Poland, over the last week we’ve actually seen a 42% revenue uplift, with the booking volume remaining comparable year-on-year. This suggests guests are indulging in luxuries during their stay - be that more expensive dinners, pricier wines or room upgrades, implying consumers are keen to treat themselves post lockdown.”  

Samantha Williams concluded: “The hospitality industry has endured a torrid few months, but with lockdown measures slowly beginning to ease there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The statistics we’re seeing from Poland, along with booking data that supports it, means we’re certain there’ll be massive booking demand for hotels that reopen - something that should provide considerable reassurance for UK-based hospitality operators.”

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