• Ryan Haynes

Industry Rundown #1 of 2021 - Localisation In Travel

Ryan Haynes and Samantha Marsh discuss the changes affecting the travel industry as we learn to live in a new world, beyond the pandemic. We look at current trends, the rise of hyper-localisation and what businesses can do to ensure they remain afloat.

The start of 2021 has been an interesting time for the travel industry. While some companies, such as big international tour operators, are reporting losses, down turns and a struggle to drive new bookings for 2021; UK hotels, self-catering companies and holiday parks are experiencing the opposite - in that business for them is booming!

Clear patterns are emerging to show increases in the region of 300% on bookings this January compared to 2021 for these UK businesses. The likes of Best Western,, Centre Parcs and Haven are all basking in the glow of a rosy looking year ahead - of course, providing the restrictions begin to relax in early March as suggested by Boris Johnson. We must note, however, that a closer look at the data, does show that not all of these are new bookings, some are those carried over from 2020, when people had to reschedule as a result of lockdown 1.

Another emerging trend is creative businesses using their acumen to diversify their product slightly. So for example, the likes of Intrepid Travel and Wild Frontiers are bringing their style of activity holiday to the UK - think dog sledding in Wales rather than the wilds of Canada.

A new company to capitalise on this trend is Natural Britain, which launched in July 2020 and has plans to offer over 100 holidays for 2021 in this same vein with sledding, pony trekking and cycling amongst the options available.

However, until we can continue to enjoy the freedom of movement, even in the UK, once again, there are other options for businesses to ‘win’ as we navigate our way through extended lockdowns. This being marketing and promoting what you have to those on your doorstep.

Restaurateurs have been particularly at the forefront of this revolution by offering their fine dining and great food as a ‘home cook’ option. Utilising the click and collect style technology consumers are more familiar with at the supermarket, local diners can now select all manner of dishes and drinks that come ready prepared with just the need to warm up or cook at the end. This has allowed Brits to enjoy the feeling of dining out when it’s been unavailable as a physical choice.

Similarly other businesses to capitalise on this have included hamper deliveries, ice cream makers, gift shops and coffee shops. Whether they have gone back to basics with advertising on local notice boards or used the power of social media, it’s really shown how with a little creativity can help a business thrive when they may have otherwise struggled.

In the podcast, we discuss ways in which all businesses can get on board with this, providing our top tips for self-promotion and working with partners. The three key things we advise you to do:

1 - Identify your local business partner network

Build relationships with businesses that complement your offering who will direct and recommend their customers to you. Work together on creating combined deals and offers to share as much of the available custom as possible.

2 - Use social media for geo-targeting

Run advertising campaigns with consumers within your vicinity. Capitalize on social media advertising features by targeting specific audiences, run localised offers and campaigns to grab people for when lockdown eases. You may have an app which will allow for greater localised geo-targeting.

3 - Run a local PR communication campaign

Connect with local newspapers, magazines, and radio to share your story and promotional offers. Work with smart tv advertising to target local people. Run the campaign across multiple channels to see the full affect.

Get some further tips from our parent company blog - Haynes MarComs

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