Anxiety for holiday bookers – how bad is it now?

Has COVID19 changed the UK travel industry?

To read up on how things have changed, read our Travel Trends for 2020 and onwards here. 



Here’s what we’ve learned in the last 3 months…


Before and After – How the CRITERIA of people’s booking needs has changed. 

PreCOVID the CRITERIA for booking was something like this (order flexible depending on age and type of group):  1. Location. 2. Dates. 3. Price. 4. Style. 5 Things to do/places to go.

PostCOVID it is more like this: 1. Can I trust this company? 2. Cleaning requirements. 3. Booking policy flexibility. 4. Dates. 5. House suitability for stay-at-home holiday. 6. Price. 6. Style.

Before and After – How the PROCESS of booking a holiday has changed. 

The PROCESS of booking a SHORT STAY was something like this:
1. Go to Airbnb and search.
2. Find places and get quotes.
3. Have a basic message interaction with the owner online.
4. Try to book it direct with the owner.
5. 80% Fail at this. So either pay the full amount to Airbnb or…
6. Look around and find other options – this can take a lot of time online
7. Go to a boutique advertising channel, like Sawdays, to search. Start the process again.
8. Try to speak with someone pre-booking. If not then eventually book with the company who ticks the most boxes and has the best online relationship with you.
9. Still feel a bit nervous but come anyway and feel relief/disappointment about the stay.
10. Turn up and hope it’s ok – if it’s not – it’s a short stay anyway – less pressure.

The PROCESS of booking a LONG STAY or LARGER GROUP STAY was and is a lot more complicated but is less changed…

1. Search the internet for a self catering cottages company
2. Look them up on social media to see if they’re ‘real’ and are posting authentic looking content – i.e can we trust their advice?
3. Phone them and ask for help. Test their knowledge and assess if you can trust them.
4. Do this with a few companies, find a few places and get quotes.
5. Whittle down to a top 4 ish.
6. Circulate to family for feedback.
7. Speak to the company again and ask more questions that have come from the family.
8. Speak with and book with the company who ticks the most boxes and has the most trusted relationship with you.
9. Keep checking the agencies/house social media channel and developing trust and local knowledge to plan before they come away.
10. Speak to them about last details
11. Turn up and see that you’ve got what was sold to you, or better. Relax!

PostCOVID, you can see the experience is wholly different. The longer the stay, the more the questions… Combine the process above with massively different concerns, that were never, or only mildly there before.

  1. 1. Can we trust the company who we are booking with to give us honest answers, the BEST local knowledge and to treat us fairly instead of as a commodity? This is the NO1 part of the booking process…
  2. 2. Health concerns. Is the house private just for me? In all areas? Where do I see that? How can I trust what you’re saying, you’re the seller? Is it clean? Is it disinfected? Do the cleaners know what they’re doing? Did they wear PPE? How will I know what’s been cleaned on arrival? Will cleaning materials be left out for me to clean more if I want? Is your laundry washed at the right temperature to kill the virus?

3. Booking policies and terms. What if I can’t come? What happens if you cancel on me? Or there is Lockdown again? Are the terms fair and flexible? Can I change my mind? How close to the stay date? What fees are there? Are they transparent?

4. Is the house suitable for staying in and having fun? We won’t be going out much, so what is there to do at the house that ticks the Slow Travel box? The garden: outdoor ‘room’s, BBQ’s, dens, hideouts, boules, hot-tub, a pool? Inside; a DVD player, toys, TV channels, the WIFI? A wood burner to curl up next to and read a book. If they do venture out, then lovely walks from home, quiet places to be away from the crowds. They need personal advice they can trust for ultra ‘locals knowlege’ and a nearby beach etc.

5.  What to do in the local area? What’s the community like? Will we be welcomed by the locals or are they worried about us visiting? What can we do that is relaxing and lovely? What do the locals do?


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