Needless to say travel in 2020/21 didn’t quite go to plan! The COVID-19 pandemic has completely turned the industry on its head, and with the UK government performing yet another U-turn earlier this month for international travel (goodbye Portugal green list), it looks like we’ll be staying put for some time to come.
It’s not all bad news however. We may not be able to venture abroad but with UK restrictions finally lifting, travel within the UK is now back on the cards. Staycations are now big business with many firms, such as Sykes Holiday Cottages, seeing huge spikes in bookings as people frantically try to escape their own back gardens. (To find out more, listen to our podcast with Chris Algar, Head of SEO at Sykes here). This is in complete contrast to travel abroad, which saw demand fall by a massive 94.3% in April 2020 compared to the same month in 2019 (IATA 2020).
Travel SEO trends
In fact, travel industry related search has almost changed completely since BC (Before Coronavirus). Take a look at some of the top travel search terms in the UK in January 2021 (Source: Thoughtshift):
• ‘Lodges with hot tubs in Scotland’ had over 22,200 searches
• ‘Cottages with hot tubs Cornwall’ saw a 3.5x increase with 12,100 searches compared to 3,600 in January 2020
• ‘UK Staycation’ had 8,100 searches, compared to 1,900 in January 2020
These trends indicate that people’s appetite for travel had not sated during lockdowns but instead made them more determined to replicate their usual holiday patterns, such as the huge majority that included a hot tub in their search!
January 2021 also saw a huge increase in searches for ‘Maldives Holidays’ with 110,000, and in particular ‘Maldives packages’ with 12,100. According to trends, holidays to the Maldives typically peak in January anyway but this shift to searching for package holidays specifically suggests that consumers are now more concerned about the security of a package holiday (41%) and a travel professional’s up-to-date advice (40%). (Source: Travel Weekly)
Our top 3 travel predictions for 2021 and beyond!
So, what’s next for the travel industry? With all these changing restrictions, we honestly have no idea. But we can guess! Here are our top 3 predictions for summer travel 2021:
1. Staycations – An obvious choice but a strong one. We don’t think the staycation will be going anywhere anytime soon!
2. Late bookings – With ever-changing travel restrictions, people just aren’t feeling secure about making long term plans. We think more and more people will be making more last minute holiday plans in 2021.
3. The great outdoors – Walking has basically been all we can do this last year so we wouldn’t be surprised to see more people enjoying the British countryside on their hols this year.