With Brexit, the falling value of the pound, the unpredictability of the economy and the on-going threat of terrorism on the continent, it’s hard to predict exactly how UK’s tourism industry will hold up in 2017. Here we take a look at some of the challenges facing the holiday park sector in the next 12 months…
It’s not all doom and gloom. Honest… If you believe everything you read, then 2017 is set to be a bumper year for holiday parks and campsites. It may even surpass 2016, with more people expected to holiday at home with a new rise in the popularity of so-called staycations.
A lot, of course, depends on what happens in the run up the UK leaving the EU and whether or not the pound retains its current level (or falls even further), making holidays abroad even more expensive for us Brits.
Should there be other incidents of terrorism in France, Belgium and other European countries not too far away from our shores then this too could positively help the UK’s tourism industry, as it is seen as a safe haven, not only for UK holiday makers, but also those in Europe, America and Asia.
The overall state of the UK economy, though, is undoubtedly the big issue. If inflation rises, as predicted, following the fall in the value of Sterling, as the price of imported goods become more expensive, then the Bank of England may consider a rise in interest rates. This could mean less money in the pocket of householders (especially those with big mortgages), making the likelihood of those families taking holidays at home or abroad less likely.
If the economy remains stable and people do choose a staycation in 2017 it is, perhaps, inevitable that the cost of UK holidays will go up. It’s the old adage of supply and demand and the rush for that perfect UK break will mean families and couples will be battling it out for those peak weeks in the best locations; and as demand increases for those perfect escapes, suppliers are likely to put up their prices.
While consumers may find this tough, the possibility of a fully booked park with higher prices is likely to be welcomed by park owners. Indeed, some parks that were only marginally profitable in 2014, 2015 and 2016 could find themselves making a healthy return in 2017 – without having to do a lot different. That is, if you believe all the hype.
There is another side to the argument. The glass half-empty view. If the anticipated splurge of domestic holiday bookings does materialise then the competition between holiday parks and campsites is also likely to rise. This means that standing out from the crowd, in an already congested market, could be even harder for some parks.
You should all by now know the importance of having a mobile friendly website. If you don’t yet have a mobile friendly website your park or campsite could well suffer next year. Data collected from our holiday park clients suggests that 2017 could be the year that more holiday bookings will be made on mobile and tablets than on desktop computers.
Traditionally, users have done their initial research on a mobile but waited until they were sat in front of their PC or laptop to make that final purchase. Researchers at thoughtshift report that 94% of leisure travellers switch between devices as the plan or book a holiday but that their main concern was that they were not finding the best price or making the best decision when using a mobile.
But the gap between bookings on mobile vs. desktop has continued to close and we believe that 2017 could well be the year that people complete the entire booking journey on their smart phones.
Thoughtshift also claim that mobiles have encouraged new ‘last minute booking behaviours’:
In simple terms, your holiday park or campsite needs to be ready for the challenges ahead – it could be a rollercoaster ride next year! Here’s our top three priorities for 2017…