Reflections on 2019

2019 was a rollercoaster year for the travel sector; we witnessed the fall of historic travel agent Thomas Cook along with several other online agents and Brexit continued to dominate the headlines. Despite all this, people remained committed to their holidays and we enjoyed a surge in UK staycations, making it a bumper year for domestic tourism. Read on to learn about our top trends.

 

Responsible travel 

Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and Extinction Rebellion have all had a hand in bringing the climate crisis to the forefront of the agenda. Society is growing a conscience, embracing ethical, local and sustainable shopping – including looking for greener holidays. Holidaymakers are more aware of their impact on a destination: 45% of people say sustainability is an important element when booking and 36% of people would choose one travel company over another if they have a better environmental record. ABTA launched their Make Holidays Greener campaign in June with tips to help holidaymakers consider how they can ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ before they go on holiday, en route, while they are away and when they get back home.

Canopy & Stars introduced planting a tree for every booking in July and we’ve got an ambitious target of reaching 1 million trees by 2025, which is why we’ve asked our owners to help. To date, we’ve planted 21,133 trees and our closure for Black Friday, gave way to – you guessed it – more planting. Tell us about any planting you’re doing – we’d love to hear about it..

 

Trusted travel expert 

In an age of limitless choice and information, holidaymakers feel more confident booking with a travel professional. 69% of travellers prefer to return to travel companies that personalise the user experience. This becomes even more crucial, given the rise of holiday fraud and this year’s bad press for certain online travel agents who offer little or no customer facing support for their guests or owners.  

Our recent guest survey showed that by far the most important reason given for why people liked the brands they chose was quality, while ethics and level of service came second and third.

Some things you may not know about us – we accept less than 20% of applications, inspect and re-inspect every one of our spaces and we’re proud to say our average feedback score is 9.2/10. 

 

Staycations  

Whether you’re a Leaver or Remainer, the positive news for our UK based owners that came out of the Brexit postponement was that people chose to holiday within the UK rather than abroad. Leave date extensions, travel uncertainty and a weak Pound against the Euro encouraged us Brits to stay closer to home where our money went further and we didn’t have to worry about needing extra documentation for car hire.   

The Tourism Sector Deal, the first of its kind was announced in June and sets out to prepare Britain for an extra nine million visitors per year, with commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025. 

C&S 2019 UK bookings were up by 22%. 

 

Wellness holidays 

With mental health very much on the agenda and proven studies of the positive effects nature can have on your wellbeing, this trend is here to stay. Wellness tourism is worth an estimated $639 billion globally and trips across the globe are up by 20% since 2015. Digital detox is a trend that comes hand in hand with the types of spaces we have in the collection, so we’re already well ahead of the game. Although the irony is not lost on us when we see guests documenting said detox on social media – let’s assume they wait until they’re back home at least!

We sent Nothing, I’m Fine, a mental health podcast to The Nap in March and here’s what happened.

 

Experiences, not things  

Experiences are social currency on social media. Where we once boasted of consumer goods, we now look to show off consumer experiences. Our Instagram is brimming with experience shots: guests out in the wild, bathing outdoors, forest bathing, wild swimming, campfire cooking and furry farm friends.  

50% of C&S bookings are occasions and we saw a 27% increase in gift card revenue. Did you see our Occasions article?

 

Article by Sarah, our Canopy & Stars Industry Lead

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