January’s peaks will be spread throughout 2021, new research has predicted, with only 6% of consumers saying they plan to book during the traditional post-Christmas period.
However, the exclusive research conducted by PwC and TTG found strong indications of pent-up demand.
PwC surveyed more than 2,000 consumers in mid-October and compared results with a similar survey in May. Another poll of 56 operators was carried out in November and tallied with earlier research in the summer.
Findings were revealed during TTG’s Agenda 2021 online event, taking place today and tomorrow.
David Trunkfield, PwC’s hospitality and leisure lead, said there was cause for optimism despite the findings. The poll found 40% of consumers were undecided if they will take a summer holiday next year but only 18% said they would not.
“That suggests quite a lot of pent-up demand.”
However, the research found only 15% planned to book between January and April. “There is pent-up demand, whether the traditional peak period will be too early is the question,” Trunkfield said.
“There is a very large group that is undecided, so we don’t think they will be in the frame of mind to book in peaks. But we do think these sorts of numbers will shift and be responsive to news flow.”
The poll found only 4% had already booked and 7% had shifted a 2020 booking.
In terms of future bookings, 45% of the 55-plus age group said they would not travel internationally without a vaccine, compared with only 28% of 18-34 year-olds, highlighting similar patterns this year.
“There is a clear difference by age; younger people are twice as likely to have been on an international holiday or on an airplane since the pandemic,” Trunkfield said. There was a similar split between the affluent AB consumers and the DEs, he added, advising companies to target the young and affluent as well as those able to work while quarantining at home.
Three-quarters of operators said they planned to spend less on marketing in peaks, saying they would spread efforts throughout the year. On pricing, 46% said they would be “slightly higher” and 32% in line with 2020.
A third of operators said they expected it would be three to six months before any “meaningful” level of holidays were taken, which would coincide with the start of summer 2021.
However, Brexit was “the other fly in the ointment” Trunkfield said, adding that younger age groups were much more concerned about its effects on travel than the 55-pluses.
To register for Agenda 2021, visit the dedicated webpage.