More personality, less formality
Reinvention is a word of the moment – and even the travel industry is joining in. There has been a huge rise of accommodation providers repositioning their businesses as homely, approachable, relaxed and earthy, without sacrificing quality or luxury. Why?
Because travellers seem less trusting of the ‘big boys’ – the bland hotel chains – and are choosing smaller, more unique places to stay to satisfy their need for something a little bit ‘different’, while conversely remaining ‘familiar’, and with more individual care.
‘Wellness’ is a buzzword right now, it’s about making choices that are good for you. People put wellness in their coffee, have it on their toast, wear it, consume it, and expect to stay somewhere that promotes it. The domestic market has upgraded in this respect, and staycationing clientele are putting a lot more money into the UK economy than ever before.
So holiday businesses have been looking more closely at what makes people tick – what they enjoy or care about at home, such as the environment, sustainability, local or home-grown produce – and transporting this back into their businesses, taking the time to ‘put the love back’, banishing the stuffiness and formality that have come to be associated with big hotel chains.
This is timely. While the staycation phenomenon is admittedly not as strong as in 2014-15, it still boasts higher figures than pre-recession. Falling oil prices mean that people are far more likely to put fuel in their car to go on their breaks, especially short-breaks, in the UK. Yes, oil prices also mean that it’s cheaper to jump on board a flight to foreign shores, but the security issues abroad of late balance out the scales between UK and international travel.
Visiting friends and relatives (VFR) is also consistently on the rise, by approximately 10% year on year, which means that many businesses are enjoying the bolt-on short-break holidays associated with this – a bonus for UK accommodation providers. It pays for them to ride this wave and to make sure the experience they offer matches up to leisure seekers’ expectations.
So what do today’s travellers expect?
Travellers are asking for more online transparency when they book holidays; they don’t want to have to go backwards and forwards via phonecalls and emails to secure their bookings anymore. Instant connectivity in all locations is also expected when they get there. They are increasingly turning away from holidays if they do not offer WiFi.
If you are an accommodation provider, it is advisable that you think about adapting to these pressures and consider advancing your WiFi connectivity, developing a responsive website, and installing a seamless, front-end online booking process. If you are more at the cottage end of the market, you could even upgrade the technology you offer on site, such as availability of good TVs, satellite, and mp3 players.
Guests generally want more choice, more flexibility, and authentic yet connected experiences. What’s more, they want these expectations to be managed from the outset. A place to stay must build the atmosphere from the very beginning – a guest will be asking, ‘will this place be able to satisfy me, will it live up to my expectations?’ from the moment they start browsing.
If there is no online booking system or a responsive website with truthful, hearty lifestyle photography and clear messages about what the holiday will deliver, the chances are, the guest will think it can’t. They expect to be put first and don’t like it if they are not. Accommodation owners can look into improving these areas to dramatically reduce turn-aways from potential guests and therefore any loss of precious revenue. It is crucial to get up and running with online bookings.
Let technology be your friend in business
If you are a holiday business of any kind, the actual technology does not need to be a barrier to your visibility on the web. Anytime Booking is a young traveltech company and we’re here to help you every step of the way to taking online bookings. We are real people behind the science!
Our booking and site management software gives you the flexibility to run your business your way. You can use it as a simple reservation system to verify the bookings yourself, or you can accept instant online bookings together with payment straight away.
When you come on board, our Account Coordinators are on hand to advise you of the best possible way to configure your accommodation on the system to mirror your business rules, giving you peace of mind that you are getting it right for your customers.
Are you an accommodation provider ready to take the next step? Sign up to Anytime Booking now.
Holiday trends: lifestyle all the way
Communications Director, Anytime