Visit Britain Consumer Sentiment Tracker

VisitEngland has commissioned a tracking survey to understand domestic intent to take short breaks and holidays both within the UK and abroad, with particular focus around the current barriers and concerns around travel and how these will evolve over time. Explore some of the previous insights here and keep up to date with the latest reports. 

St Ouen's Bay

Here is a summary of the latest wave of VisitEngland’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker (fieldwork undertaken between 6th – 10th April):

Although the proportion expecting ‘normality’ to return to their lives by the end of the year continues to decline, there is evidence that general levels of optimism are rising. Trip confidence is creeping up and the Appetite for Risk score has improved slightly, suggesting people’s sense of unease is diminishing when it comes to participating in a range of activities, particularly those which are predominantly indoors. 

Highlights from wave 28 include:

  • 44% of adults expect ‘normality’ by end of this year – down another 6 points compared to last wave.
  •  The Appetite for Risk score climbs to 2.5/4.
  • Almost half of adults anticipate taking more or the same number of overnight domestic trips between now and end of the year compared to normal.  This compares with just over a quarter of adults with similar intent regarding overseas trips.
  • Confidence edges up, with 38% fairly/very confident a trip booked for this June could proceed as planned (climbing 5 points)
  • 14% anticipate taking an overnight trip this spring (Apr – June) rising to 35% during the summer (July – Sept) which is stable wave-on-wave.  There has been significant uplift in intent from October 2021 onwards, however.
  • Among those who are intending to take a trip this spring, 62% have reached the planning and 49% the booking stages of their trips, which is up from 50% and 44% respectively last wave.
  • The South West remains the lead destination for spring trips with a commanding 26% share; 13 percentage points ahead of second placed North West. 
  • The leading destination type for spring trips is ‘traditional coastal/seaside town’ (30%) narrowly ahead of ‘countryside or village’ (27%).
  • The accommodation types most likely to be used on overnight trips this spring are ‘commercial rentals’ (e.g. holiday cottages) on 40%, ‘camping/caravan’ (39%), ‘Hotel/motel/inn’ (37%) and a ‘private home’ (35%).
  • Some 48% of UK adults intend to take a day trip to a ‘traditional coastal/seaside town’ or ‘countryside or village’ destination at some stage during this spring/summer.  This compares with 25% intending to visit a ‘large city’.

Consumer sentiment insights from the latest VB consumer sentiment tracker fieldwork (undertaken between 9th – 13th November). This fieldwork was undertaken while England was in a second lockdown. However, during this period there were also positive announcements in relation to the effectiveness of vaccines and the timeframe for their availability.

  • The average mood of UK adults increased to 6.6/10, realigning it with levels seen during late September.
  • The proportion of UK adults stating ‘the worst has passed’ in relation to COVID-19 has significantly risen compared to the last wave (from 5% to 16%) and is at the highest level since early September. Likewise, a significantly lower proportion of UK consumers feel that ‘the worst is still to come’ compared to last wave (falling from 61% to 40%).
  • There has been a very small increase in the proportion of UK adults expecting normality by next March (moving from 17% to 18%), following 4 consecutive waves of decline. However, the majority of UK adults (82%) don’t expect normality before April, with half (50%) not expecting normality returning before next July.
  • Near-term confidence (November to January 2021) in being able to take a domestic overnight trip has declined since the last wave and confidence remains subdued even up to March 2021. It’s not until the April - June 2021 period that we see a majority (53%) of UK adults expressing confidence in the ability to take a trip, rising further through the summer and autumn months. 
  • ‘Restrictions on travel from government’ is the leading reason UK adults do not feel confident about taking an overnight trip by a significant margin.
  • 6% of UK adults plan on taking a domestic overnight trip before the end of the year; a decline on the 10% that stated this in the previous wave.
  • 13% intend to take an overnight trip between January and March rising to over a third (35%) during the Spring or Summer of 2021. Both of these figures  have increased since the last wave (when it was 11% and 30% respectively). 
  • 32% of UK adults are not intending to take any domestic overnight trips at all, but this is significantly lower than the last wave (37%).
  • From Spring 2021 onwards, longer breaks (4+ nights) make up the majority of overnight trips.
  • For those who have already booked travel or who are intending to travel between now and March, they are most likely to book their accommodation directly with an accommodation provider (around 1 in 3 intend to use this channel) followed by an online travel website (about 1 in 4).
  • The single most important condition for consumer reassurance to stay in accommodation over the next few months is still ‘free cancellations’ (51%) very closely followed by ‘enhanced cleaning regimes’ (50%) and ‘plentiful hand sanitisers’ (50%).
insights 1
  • Shorter breaks of 1-3 nights look set to account for a higher volume of UK domestic trips than those of 4+ nights for trips taken between now and next March. However, from Spring 2021 onwards, there is a preference for longer breaks (4+ nights).
  • Destination intention for trips planned between January and March is led by ‘countryside or village’ (36%) followed by cities/towns (30%) and traditional coastal/seaside town (25%).
  • The accommodation preference for trips planned between January and March is camping/caravans at 43%, a significant increase on 27% seen in the last wave. This may be linked to ‘countryside/village’ being the destination of choice and possibly reflects a shift in mindset, with people committing themselves to less ‘formal’ trips that more readily lend themselves to both social distancing and last minute changes of plan. This is followed by holiday rentals (41%) and hotels (40%).
  • For trips between November – March 2021, people are most likely to book their accommodation directly with an accommodation provider, with just over a 1 in 3 share, followed closely by OTAs such as Expedia, Booking.com, Lastminute.com, Tripadvisor, highlighting the opportunity to work closely with our OTA partners.
  • Unsurprisingly, cleanliness, hygiene and distancing feature highly among the measures considered essential for staying in accommodation during the coming months. Offering free cancellations also features highly, suggesting a strong need to provide reassurance and confidence that reimbursement will occur should plans change.
Insights 2
  • In terms of domestic region likely to be visited between January and March, the South West and North West tie with 18% shares, narrowly ahead of London (16%). The popularity of the coastal South West and areas like the Lake District in the North West echo the strong preference for outdoor areas, activities and attractions in terms of leisure activities once lockdown restrictions are lifted.