Travellers are looking to experience new destinations within the UK as soon as government restrictions are lifted, following a recent survey by The Torridon Hotel in the Highlands, however, they are planning on sticking with their own family groups but would love to eat out in restaurants and pubs.
The survey of 796 people conducted by the resort, which includes a Five AA Red Star Hotel, contemporary Stables accommodation, fine-dining 1887 restaurant, and casual dining Bo & Muc pub, found that over half (58.3%) said they were likely or very likely to book a UK holiday in 2020, with 39.5% hoping to travel as soon as government restrictions lift. A further 15% are looking to travel within the UK in the next three months, but 7.8% stated they wouldn’t do so until a COVID-19 vaccine had been created.
The vast majority of those surveyed (91.6%) expressed they would be willing to travel four or more hours from their home for their next UK holiday, and no respondents claimed they would want to stay within an hour of their home, instead of seeking new adventures further afield.
The survey, which was conducted in the first week of June, also found that many were looking for some time away to slow down following the stressful months of lockdown, with 26.4% seeking a change of scenery and 25.6% wanting to relax and recuperate. The diligence of sticking to social distancing guidelines was clear as 73.5% of respondents said they would be only travelling with their own household, while a small minority were looking to reconnect with family and friends from other households (16.4%). Business travel appears to have taken the largest hit with only 0.25% of those surveyed saying they would be travelling with colleagues.
Booking patterns have evolved with many travellers looking for longer periods of domestic travel as 33.1% stated they would like to have a UK holiday for longer than a week, potentially to replace the international holidays that have been cancelled due to travel restrictions and the newly-implemented 14-day quarantine for arrivals. A further 38.6% were hoping to book for two-four nights, and 27.6% for five-seven nights, with only 0.6% seeking one-night breaks.
Being outside in the open air is a key desire with many seeking outdoor activities such as walking and cycling (82%), or looking forward to immersing themselves in wildlife and nature (68.7%), and 79.6% wanted to explore the surrounding local area.
In terms of safety measures, the most important requirement for hotels was hourly cleaning of public areas, followed by allotted dining times and disposable menus. A strong majority (64.4%) said they would not like self-service, confirming the desire for welcoming and attentive service despite the need for reduced physical contact.
When asked which dining options they would like to experience when travelling in the UK, the most popular included hotel restaurants and pub dining, with an average 76.3% stating that they would like to eat there. A fifth (21.8%) said they would like room service and only 2.5% stated that they would order from an external food delivery service. Drinking in a hotel bar or pub was also popular with an average of 58% saying they would like the option when away.