Summer 2020 is a “write off” for holidays among the country’s affluent travellers, but Europe and domestic holidays are likely to be where they will look to go when they can.
The sentiment comes from a survey by luxury operator Abercrombie & Kent and its sister brand Cox & Kings, which found half of respondents were “already planning or intending to start soon”.
But the customers of the two brands do not see themselves potentially travelling until autumn at the soonest and “when it’s safe to do so”.
Flexibility for holiday bookings was said to be critical, with 80% saying they would be seeking “flexibility without charges”; both operators said they have introduced such flexible booking conditions for new bookings made before 30 September.
Hygiene and safety of the destination came in second as a factor for booking a trip.
Other factors that would now be important to customers included “direct flights, consultant expertise and having comprehensive insurance”, the report found. Of those surveyed, 44% flagged they will be “a lot more cautious with where and when they travel [relative to] the ever-evolving situation on the ground”.
When people will be ready to travel, Europe looks set to be the clear winner, with 57% saying they will travel to the continent in the next 12 months; domestic holidays were also expected to perform well.
Next most popular destinations with A&K’s customers were North America, Africa, Far East, Caribbean, South America, Australasia, Indian Ocean and Middle East.
For customers of Cox & Kings – which A&K purchased at the end of 2019 – the most popular options people see themselves going to are also Europe and UK, followed by the Far East, North America, South America / Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Middle East, Australasia, Caribbean then the Indian Ocean.
Seemingly feeling cushioned, more than 70% said that their budget would remain the same for the next 12 months when it comes to travel planning.
When it comes to types of holiday customers would take, 85% of A&K’s customers said they would favour villa holidays and 82% said wildlife holidays.
For Cox & Kings’ customers, private touring (73%), small group (73%) and arts and culture 76% scored highest.
When thinking about who to travel with, respondents wanted to go as a couple or with their extended family; solo travel came in third.
A new consumer panel of A&K and Cox and Kings’ clients will now be part of an on-going group to help provide further insights on future travel trends and also “help influence product development and strategy in the future”.
“What holidays look like has changed dramatically, this pandemic isn’t going to be easily forgotten,” said Kerry Golds, managing director of A&K. “Unsurprisingly, people want to work with a reputable company so that if something bad does happen, they can rely on their operator to get them home quickly.”