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UK Tourism Market Research: Major Trends

Digital Marketing
October 6, 2022
16 min
Content

The global tourism industry demonstrates an impressive growth boost, due to the industry recovery after the Coronavirus pandemic. The hotel and resort industry is estimated to jump from $0.72 trillion in 2021 to $1.06 trillion in 2022.

In spite of the fact many industry players suffered from losses during COVID-19, it is about high time to restore their businesses. Fresh tourist market trends and statistics are essential to effective strategic solutions.

Promodo’s Strategy department maintained a profound holiday market research in the United Kingdom and outlined UK tourism trends that may help companies out of the considerable crisis caused by the pandemic and ensure long-term development.

Size and growth trends of the UK travel industry

First of all, it is essential to admit that the travel and tourism industry has a considerable contribution to the national economy of the United Kingdom. In such a way, it used to benefit the domestic budget with £234.5 billion before COVID-19. In spite of the massive drop in 2020, the criterion had a positive tendency in 2021, although £131.5 billion is twice less than before the Coronavirus pandemic. According to the national tourism agency,  the industry’s worth forecast is to reach £257 billion by 2025, which is a positive prospect for new and existing companies in the sphere.

Structure of the UK Travel Market

Another aspect of the UK travel market research that needs to be considered is structure and prospects. By 2023, the UK travel industry statistics are estimated to exceed its pre-pandemic level and reach $600 million in revenue. Hotels are the most significant revenue contributors that capture almost half of the overall revenue. Hence, hotels and resorts face beneficial external opportunities for fast business development. Package holidays form the second most profitable niche of the tourism and travel market in the UK. The revenue shares of vacation rentals and cruises are the smallest, although they will slightly enhance starting from 2023.

UK Tourism Market Revenue

Tourist Influx to the UK

One of the main UK holiday market trends is a considerable influx of US tourists. Travelers from the United States create the primary target audience group of the UK’s industry players, as Americans create the largest inbound influx according to both tourists number and financial spendings amount. Besides, in 2021, French and Spanish remained promising target markets, when the inbound influx to the UK from Italy and Germany dropped compared to 2019.

The purpose of tourism in the country also changed. When the majority of overseas residents traveled to Great Britain for holidays in 2019, now they go abroad to see their UK-based relatives.

UK Tourism Market

We need to admit that the tourist influx to the United Kingdom still has not recovered after the COVID-19 crisis and remains far below the benchmark of 2019. Nevertheless, considering the growing tendency of the market development, tourism industry players may take benefit from such a challenge and capture additional market share.

Consumers analysis

In order to plan the business development in the tourism sector properly, it is critical to have potential consumer portrait and consumer behavior analysis. The UK tourism market players should focus primarily on customers in the 25-54 years age group, as they are the most likely to purchase tours. Besides, take into account that men plan trips more often than women.  

UK Tourism Market
Age and Gender Distribution of Consumers (Based on Top-5 Sites in category)

Once you have chosen your potential group of customers, it is critical to provide them with the most comfortable purchase options. Tourism industry customers in different age groups have varied consumer behavior patterns and preferred various methods of holiday booking. In such a way, 35% of the youngest segment are likely to book their trips at a high street agency or tour operator. At the same time, the majority of customers from the three largest age groups, namely from 25 to 54 years old, consider online travel agencies to be the most comfortable way to arrange an overseas trip. People from 55 to 64 years usually book accommodations and airline tickets directly from hotels and airline companies. Most of the customers older than 65 years choose high street agencies for their holidays arrangement. Consider these market trends in the tourism industry in the UK, developing your business.

UK Tourism Market

Viewing consumer behavior, market trends in tourism industry, and customers' motivation in choosing the distribution channel for travel services purchases in our tourism market research, the majority of British customers prefer the online channel. The main reasons are cheaper prices, the convenience of change and cancelation, the ability to compare offers, an opportunity to review comments, and a simpler payment process. Hence, travel companies that target the online distribution channel need to ensure these aspects at the highest level.

On the contrary, customers that choose traditional travel agencies value their trustworthiness, reputation, and additional services provided. These criteria can be considered growth opportunities for the online segment to gain competitive advantages.

UK Tourism Market

LARGEST COMPETITORS IN THE UK TOURISM MARKET

The UK tourism market is saturated with a wide range of online and offline travel agencies that form rather challenging working conditions for new and existing players. Hays Travel Shops is an absolute leader among traditional agencies with 543 outlets across the country. Adventure, TUI, Independent: ABTA Agents, and Flight Centre are the market followers with more than 200 offices in the UK. Nevertheless, the intensive competition is also maintained by smaller traditional agencies that still capture considerable market share.

UK Tourism Market

The online market of travel services is also well-developed and filled with numerous competitors. The leading online UK travel services retailer is tui.co.uk with 13.51% of the market share. The second most often used website for holiday searches is loveholidays.com which has 7.34% SOV (Share of Voice). Rest of the competitors possess less than 5% of the market, although their number is considerable.

UK Tourism Market

Most effective digital marketing practices for the UK tourism market

Once you have enough data about the market, its customers, UK tourism trends, and competitors, it’s about high time to develop powerful digital marketing tools that can boost your company’s competitive position in the UK tourism market. And we know these methods!

Organic Traffic is Key

Currently, UK tourism industry organic traffic captures the largest share among other digital marketing channels. Just take a look at the graph – an impressive 77.57%! That is why investment in an effective SEO strategy on all levels, including technical, on-page, and off-page SEO is key in order to get to the top of SERP. By the way, tui.co.uk, turrada.com, and viator.com are the companies at the top of the search engine results, so you may check their on-site SEO to find some insights.

Traffic Share of the UK-Based Tourism Companies

In terms of the SEO tourism market trends, the most popular digital content in the British tourism market, the largest traffic share goes to the flight and hotel search pages. The next in the hierarchy are pages with hot offers, followed by pages by geographic location that capture the third place in the ranking. Hence, when creating your website, make sure to include such pages in the structure, which will satisfy the expectations of the target audience in the UK tourism market.

UK Tourism Market

Having considerable experience in development of the effective SEO strategy for tourism companies, Promodo developed a list of powerful recommendations, which can increase organic traffic to your website:

  1. Add convenient filters in the listing of tours;
  2. Implement the extended tour card due to blocks with relevant linking by types, e.g nearby attractions, popular attractions, similar tours, etc.;
  3. Create a blog with expert and insightful articles;
  4. Attract traffic through information landing pages for countries and cities with the most useful information in the form of guides;
  5. Demonstrate a high level of customer trust by posting reviews;
  6. Fill your website with the informative FAQ block with practical questions and answers.

Invest in Paid Search

Even though PPC for travel industry in the UK captures only 1.17%, Promodo is ready to prove to you that the tool is well worth investing in.

For instance, by launching the PPC campaign for the Georgian National Tourism Administration, Promodo managed to increase the share of tourism to GDP by 20%, as well as grow the inbound tourist influx by 21%. Check out the details of the case study here.

Did you know that people are 4 times more likely to click ads on Google than on any other advertisement network? That is why we offer to view the British tourism market advertising benchmarks on Google Ads.

UK tourism industry
Google Ads: Advertiser Benchmarks of the Travel & Tourism industry of the UK

By the way, when developing and implementing your PPC campaign, do not limit yourself only to Google Search because it can reach only 40.3 unique users on the market. On the contrary, display search and YouTube can potentially target 42.2 million and 45.2 million unique British users. Hence, do not lose these opportunities for your business in the British tourism market.

Email

Currently, email marketing generates a very small share of online traffic in the UK tourism industry, namely 0.35%. However, at the same time, 29% of marketers rate email as the most effective marketing channel. In order to grow the effectiveness of email for travel industry, use different widgets such as pop-ups based on viewed pages, discounts before birthdays, or sales offers for a premium subscription. Try different approaches to gain the maximum benefit of your retention strategy, which has considerable potential.

Practical recommendations to boost your tourism business in the UK

As a result of decades of experience in tourism companies promotion and a detailed investigation of the UK market, Promodo has created a beneficial list of effective tips that can benefit your travel business.

​​Have a Variety of Offers

First of all, creating the product offerings of your tourism company, try to include as many services as possible. For example, offering different activities, such as cycling, hiking, excursions, cruises, and car rental will cover the full scope of customers’ needs. As a result, it will increase their satisfaction and loyalty. At the same time,  developing narrowly targeted unique offers by type, namely holidays for people over 60, adventure holidays, travel for women, day trips, or holidays for solo travelers will enable your brand to maximize the range of target audience with the minimum financial investments. Just try it!

Gather Analytics

All your business decisions need to be data-driven, so gather analytics. If you want to save historical data, you need to download data from Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4, combine the data and create reports in a separate visualization tool.

Create the Mobile Application

The global mobile app downloads reached 230 billion in 2021, and the trend keeps enhancing. Hence, having a mobile app for your tourism company will become a considerable competitive advantage in the market. Using the ASO (App Store Optimization) tool improves the app text, visual, and app position to gain beneficial results.

Beneficial Reward System

The probability of selling your tourism services to an existing customer is 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer. That is why investing in customers’ loyalty is very important for your business’s success. A beneficial reward system is an effective tool for this purpose. We offer to develop a profound loyalty program for enabling customers to accumulate points/bonuses. It will increase the incentive for further conversion and maintain connections for permanent conversion.

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Written by
Olesia Holovko

Team Lead of Content for promodo.com

Content marketing manager at Promodo with 7+ years of writing.

When creating valuable business content, I always seek fresh data, interesting facts, the expertise of professionals, and meaningful insights to bring relevant ideas to the audience. I believe that good content can enrich the experience of marketers, empower business owners to make data-driven decisions, and enhance companies in growth.

Published:
October 6, 2022
Updated:
August 17, 2023
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